Credit: Stena Line Belfast Giants
Flames edged 3 - 2 at Belfast Giants
A late powerplay goal helped the Flames get within a single, but they couldn’t get any closer during an eventual 3-2 defeat at Belfast Giants.
The opening goal of the contest came a little over 9 minutes in off the stick of Curtis Leonard, but a steal in the Giants end gave Kruise Reddick a clear path to the net, and the Canadian forward evened it up shorthanded 92 seconds from period close.
Travis Fullerton was the busier of the netminders in the 2nd and he was good for saves on all attempts except when Patrick Dwyer threw one out from behind the goal line and an unlucky bounce off the back of Fullerton’s pad had the Giants holding a 1 goal edge after a couple of frames.
Just 69 seconds into the 3rd, Jonathan Ferland extended the Giants lead to a pair. During a late game powerplay, the Flames cut the deficit with John Dunbar goal. Fullerton was in and out of the net a couple of times inside the last 2 minutes, finally fully able to vacate the cage on possession about 50 seconds from time, but the visitors were unable to push one across and head home on the back of a narrow defeat.
“I don’t think the first period was our best by any stretch, and it took a little while to get our legs under us, but we had some moments as the game went on,” said Paul Dixon. “Certainly we had some good looks near the end that nearly tied it up for us.”
“Belfast have a very good side, and Travis (Fullerton) had an outstanding evening to keep us in with a shout at winning all the way through the evening.”
“One thing I really liked was that when we went down 3-1 early in the 3rd it would have been easy to ride it out the rest of the way without too much effort, but we kept doing what we could to get back into it, and we nearly did.”
“We don’t often talk about things outside the game, but in this case it is worth noting the day to illustrate the mental fortitude this team never ceases to show. Our flights were cancelled just hours before an early departure. It was a problem to the degree that at one stage there was a chance we would not even be able to get there today.”
“The resulting short notice changes to our itinerary, flights and coaches for the day, made what is a tricky trip anyway, that much tougher for the guys. We are not looking for an excuse, quite the opposite in fact. We saw a team that didn’t let any of that adversity really bother them heading into the game, and it is hard to consider all that, see the effort they put in, and do anything other than look ahead to another chance coming."
“Like I said, Belfast is a quality side, and took their chances well to come out the winner, but we left it on the rink, and we are now looking forward to Saturday in Fife before their return visit on Sunday.”