Belfast Giants get off to winning start in Continental Cup
The Belfast Giants beat the Tilburg Trappers 4-1 in their opening game of Continental Cup Group B in Bremerhaven.
Adam Keefe, Mark McCutcheon, Cody Brookwell and Mike Kompon scored goals in a game the Giants dominated, Jurryt Smid grabbing a late consolation.
The other two sides in the group, hosts Fischtown Pinguins and CSKA Sofia, meet on Friday evening, with the Giants facing Bulgarians CSKA on Saturday.
Steve Thornton's side play Fischtown in their final group game on Sunday.
Should the Giants win the group, they will advance to the 'Super Cup' semi-final stage on 21-23 November in Ritten, Italy.
The Giants opened their European campaign with a dominant first period performance - creating numerous goal scoring opportunities and outshooting the Tilburg Trappers 17-8.
With Trappers netminder Ian Meierdres in fine form, the Giants were frustrated for long spells, however the breakthrough came at 15:59.
With the Giants on the powerplay following referee Milan Novak calling Trappers' Nick de Ruijter for slashing, it was captain Keefe who found the net, assisted by Darryl Lloyd and Calvin Elfring.
The second 20 minutes continued in the same vein, although the Giants received greater reward for their efforts.
The Giants took a 2-0 lead at 28:45, with McCutcheon registering on the scoresheet with a nice solo effort, squeezing the puck in at the back post.
Only 52 seconds later, it was 3-0 - this time it was defenceman Brookwell who fired home, assisted by Colin Shields and Kevin Phillips.
The fourth goal followed soon after, at 34:16, on the powerplay thanks to Kompon, assisted by Robby Sandrock.
The Giants closed out their opening Continental Cup game in the final 20 minutes of the game, including a few important penalty kills, to secure the three points.
Stephen Murphy stood tall in the Giants net, pulling off a string of important saves to maintain the Giants' four-goal lead.
However, the Netherlands team eventually found a way past Murphy at 56:11, with Smid firing home from close range.