Elite League: Belfast Giants beaten 3-2 by Cardiff Devils

Michael Forney of Belfast Giants in action against the Cardiff Devils
Michael Forney of Belfast Giants in action against the Cardiff Devils

A late rally by the Belfast Giants failed to save them from defeat to the Cardiff Devils on home ice on Saturday.

Trevor Hendrickx scored for the Devils in the first period with Joey Martin making it 2-0 in the second.

In the third period James Desmarais got one back but Jake Marissette made it 3-1 for Cardiff before Brandon Benedict netted Belfast's second goal.

On Friday night, the Giants had beaten Cardiff 4-3 in overtime to join the Devils at the top of the table.

In Saturday's encounter, Hendrickx netted the opener just seconds after Giants player Darryl Lloyd had rattled the frame of Cardiff's goal.

Hendrickx then served a five-minute penalty for fighting with opponent Matt Nickerson who was given the same punishment.

The two had come together following a melee of players after a boarding penalty called on Belfast's Craig Peacock.

There was controversy in the second period as the Giants appeared to have equalised, only for the score to be ruled out by a penalty on Adam Keefe. The home captain lost his helmet in the incident and was called for 'illegal equipment'.

The Giants talisman was not happy with the call and vented his anger at the officials, along with a vociferous home crowd.

The din got louder as the Devils promptly scored on the ensuing powerplay, Joey Martin putting them 2-0 up.

Desmarais scored five minutes into the third period to make it 2-1, but Morissette restored the visitors' two-goal advantage.

Benedict scored the second for the Giants to set up an exciting finale, but netminder Ben Bowns and the Devils kept the home side at bay to secure a 3-2 victory and three points from their two games at the SSE Arena.