Belfast keep the perfect record

Belfast keep the perfect record

Davide Tuniz18 Oct 2014Davide Tuniz»

Giants deal with CSKA and wait for decisive game against Penguins


Belfast Giants and CSKA Sofia open the second day of Continental Cup in Bremerhaven with British determined to confirm the role of favorites before the decisive clash on Sunday with the host and the Bulgarian at the last call if they want to entertain some hope of qualifying, now that the second place could qualify to the semifinals after the resignation of Companion Kyiv. Giants have Eddie Cheverie back on roster after missing out the game yesterday for arriving too late to stay with his pregnant wife, while injured Kevin Saurette is again sidelined. CSKA played two good period yesterday against Bremerhaven but had a physical collapse in the last period and playing another game just some hours after isn’t certainly a good medicine. With Sergei Klimentyev and Stephen Murphy in the net and the colorful Belfast fans in the stands, game ignites immediately with an inaccurate save by Klimentyev but Giants forwards don’t take advantage. In the first power play shots by Cheverie and Sawada are well blocked by Bulgarian goalie. CSKA has the first real chance with Kvasha on power play but Murphy blocked the shot. Even if not in full form the former NHLer shows his class. Around the minute 15 Giants increase the pressure and Klimentyev has a lot of work while his teammates seems at the mercy of the opponent like a boxer who cannot wait to hear the gong at the end of round. But before the siren Giants open the score on power play with Darryl Lloyd receiving from Colin Shields. CSKA continues to seems without energies and conceded another power play and at times the game seems a piggy in the middle with the puck quickly flowing among the British sticks and the poor Klimentyev trying to rebound a rain of shot. The goalie conceded the 2-0 not securing a puck thrown by Mark Garside. CSKA needs a very classy move by Vladimir Antipov with 10 seconds before the siren to go back in the game: former Salavat forward enter all alone in Belfast defense and with a precise shot beats Murphy resurrecting a team at the end of his tether.

The second period begins with a heartened CSKA occupying the Belfast defensive zone for the first 5 minutes, in a siege without real dangers for Murphy but constant, broken by a counterattack finalized by Mason with Klymentiev ready to deflect. Giants survived a power play in best CSKA momentum and gains a superiority, useful to breathe. In the middle of advantage Giants finds third goal somewhat fortuitous, with Darryl Lloyd pushing in the net a loose puck in front of Klimentyev. Another penalty for CSKA and another power play well played: Mason scored 4-1 Giants with a one-timer on Kompon pass. Giants control the rest of the period but again the final seconds are for CSKA, scoring with Stanislav Muhachev on a smart pass by Kvasha.

The last period sees Giants trying to close the match and the mission seems accomplished at 46:07 when Kompon scored the fifth goal. At 50 Klimentyev is awesome in blocking with the leg a very good team move by Giants with final shot by Mason but Russian goalie cannot do anything when Elfring comes in front of him and scores the 6-2 shorthanded sealing the final score. As in opening game, CSKA showed team hasn’t the strength to play three period: in the last 20 minutes Bulgarian players were clearly without stamina. Giants keep the dream of semifinals alive, CSKA is now eliminated and maybe the club can reflect if it is worth spending money signing players once stars, now veterans.

MVP: Darryl Lloyd – Dmitri Bykov

Giants celebrated victory with fans

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