Belfast Giants 4-1 Coventry Blaze
A pair of late empty net goals gave the Giants’ win a little more gloss than the game perhaps justified, but they were nonetheless victorious over Coventry to cut the gap at the top behind Cardiff back to just two points.
Having already been caught out once turning the puck over in the attacking zone, Coventry were made to pay the next time as Blair Riley raced away shorthanded to and beat Matt Hackett five-hole to put the Giants ahead with 14:19 gone in the game. That lead was doubled 16 seconds from the end of the opening period, Kyle Baun’s hard work to force a turnover eventually allowing Darcy Murphy to slap home from the slot to make it 2-0.
Coventry were deservedly back in the game early in period two, some nice passing eventually ending with Ross Venus not getting full power on his shot, but enough to deceive Stephen Murphy and see it roll through the five-hole into the net.
That was how things stayed until late in the game, the Blaze not able to find another way past Murphy on a couple of powerplay opportunities. Having pulled Hackett for the extra attacker, Jordan Smotherman kept up his scoring streak with an empty-netter at 59:16, while Kyle Baun added another with three seconds left to play.
Game photos (William Cherry):