Sport

Belfast Giants secure four-point weekend with comeback win over Dundee Stars

Quinn Preston scored a third-period double as the Belfast Giants defeated Dundee 6-2 on Saturday
Quinn Preston scored a third-period double as the Belfast Giants defeated Dundee 6-2 on Saturday Quinn Preston scored a third-period double as the Belfast Giants defeated Dundee 6-2 on Saturday

Belfast Giants staged a thrilling 6-2 comeback win over the Dundee stars this evening at the Dundee Ice Arena in the Challenge Cup.

Adam Keefe’s men come away from this weekend with the maximum four points from the weekend after their double header against the Scottish side, having won 4-1 against the same opponents in Belfast on Friday night.

The win signals a statement of intent that this new-look side are every bit capable of retaining the trophy for a third successive season.

The Giants fought back from two down inside the opening six minutes with six unanswered goals and it was Quinn Preston who led the way with a third period double, with Ara Nazarian, Ben Lake, Jacob Friend and Daniel Tedesco also adding their names to the scoresheet.

The start from the Giants was far from ideal, with winger Anthony Rinaldi putting the home side ahead, tapping in Josh Brittain’s assist within the first five minutes.

Brendan Harms doubled the home side’s advantage minutes later when he picked up the rebound from his initial shot and wrapped it under the pads of Giant’s netminder Beskorowany.

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The Giants clicked into gear and hit back seconds later through Ara Nazarian, who pounced on a rebound to slap a shot into the net from the right circle and the Giants were up and running.

After an action-packed start, the remainder of the first period and deep into the second period was short on chances as both sides struggled to gain the ascendency.

Dundee’s netminder Kevin Carr put in a solid performance and denied the Giants on several occasions until Mark Cooper put the puck on a plate for Ben Lake to tap in at 36 minutes to draw the sides level.

The floodgates opened in the third period as the Giants gained control. It wasn’t long before Jacob Friend got his first goal in teal albeit with the help of a slight deflection to give his side the lead.

The Stars were still very much within touching distance until Quinn Preston took advantage of a loose puck Carr had failed to cover in front of goal to stab it in and put daylight between the teams.

The visitor’s momentum continued, and further goals looked inevitable. Indeed, Preston grabbed another as he snapped a fine low shot past Carr from the right circle and could have had another seconds later but for a fine save from Carr.

A superb solo strike from Tedesco with 5 minutes remaining made it six for the Giants and capped off an impressive comeback win from the men in teal.

Belfaast Giants head coach Adam Keefe
Belfaast Giants head coach Adam Keefe Belfaast Giants head coach Adam Keefe

Speaking after the game, Giant’s head coach Adam Keefe praised his side’s response to the early set-back.

“It was a great response. Obviously, we don’t want to give up that first five minutes but coming to Dundee you know that they were going to have a response from last night.” Said Keefe.

“I really liked our guys’ response to secure the comeback win and I think in that third period we stole Dundee’s hope and belief with some good, solid play in the offensive zone and that’s what we’re looking to do – control the game.

“There were some key saves by Besko (Beskorowany) to keep us in the game and it took us a long time to break down Kevin Carr – he was great right from the start. The guys stuck with it and ultimately wore Dundee down and it showed on the scoreboard.

“We’re still a young team in terms of the changes we’ve had and we’re still learning to win in different ways. This is our first back-to-back win of the season and obviously coming on the road it’s not easy, but our guys are starting to learn and starting to gain confidence that we can control hockey games and tonight was a big learning curve for us.”

The Giants will face Fife Flyers, Guildford Flames, and Cardiff Devils next, before returning to Champions Hockey League action against EC Red Bull Salzburg at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Tuesday 10 October.