Elite League: Belfast end Blaze's unbeaten start to season

Coventry keeper Brian Stewart blocks a Daryl Lloyd shot
Belfast's Daryl Lloyd has a shot saved by Coventry keeper Brian Stewart

Belfast Giants ended Coventry's unbeaten start to the season and moved to the top of the Elite League table as they earned a 4-2 home victory.

The first period produced four goals with Mike Kompon putting Belfast ahead only for Jereme Tendler and Derek Lee to reply before Ray Sawada levelled.

After a goal-less second period, Jeff Mason restored Belfast's lead before Mark Garside's final-minute clincher.

Belfast have a home game against Fife Flyers on Sunday [16:00 BST].

The defending League champions should go into Sunday's League and Cup contest in good spirits after Saturday's impressive performance.

The Giants got off to the best possible start in the top-of-the-table clash as Kompon directed the puck home after a close-range shot by Robbie Sandrock.

A series of penalty calls then put the home side on the defensive and after appearing to have weathered the storm, the Giants were stunned by Tendler's equaliser after 11:03.

Four minutes later Derek Lee shot Blaze into a 2-1 lead, temporarily silencing the Odyssey Arena, but Sawada restored parity three minutes before the end of a breathless opening period.

The second period had a moment of controversy when Daryl Lloyd was denied a go-ahead score for the Giants, as the officials deemed he had kicked the puck into the net.

However, the Giants did move back into the lead early in the third period as Mark Garside set up Mason to net.

The Giants left it late to kill the game off but when Garside made it 4-2 with just 40 seconds to go, Coventry's unbeaten run since the start of the campaign was at an end.

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