Elite League: Belfast Giants 5-4 Guildford Flames

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Belfast Giants edge out Guildford Flames in a nine-goal thriller

Belfast Giants twice blew two-goal leads but eventually overcame Guildford Flames in a wild offensive Elite League shootout at the SSE Arena.

Brendan Connolly and John Kurtz each netted doubles for the Giants with Darcy Murphy grabbing the winner with 10 minutes left.

Only one goal came with the sides at even strength and the game witnessed an astonishing 95 shots on net.

The win ended a two-game league losing streak for the Giants.

It rained goals in the first period, the Giants netting four of the six scored in an exciting penalty-filled 20 minutes.

It was a confident start from the hosts with Connolly scoring twice, the second on the powerplay and both deflected in by Guildford players.

Self-inflicted wounds

However, the visitors soon seized back the initiative thanks to some self-inflicted wounds from the Giants.

Already without three injured defencemen, Spiro Goulakos took a 10-minute misconduct and Ryan Martinelli two plus two for roughing and that allowed the Flames to tie the game with two powerplay goals from Carl Ackered and Jesse Craige.

Belfast were still killing a penalty when they retook the lead shorthanded as Steve Saviano's effort was saved but Kurtz followed up to score.

The same player was on hand minutes later when he tucked home a rebound, this time on a Giants man advantage.

The special team goals continued at the start of the second period, this time it was the Flames' turn to score a shorthanded goal through Mikael Lidhammar.

A big smile from Brendan Connolly after completing his early double against the Flames
A big smile from Brendan Connolly after completing his early double against the Flames

It was the only puck to find the target during the middle session although between them both sides could have easily scored five or six other times.

The Giants seemed determined not to learn from recent mistakes and conceded the equalising goal on yet another two-man advantage for Guildford, when John Dunbar converted from a well worked move.

As the shot total increased and chances came and went it was superb vision from Jonathan Ferland that set up the winning goal.

Once again on the powerplay, Ferland picked out a sublime pass to Murphy, who had a gaping net to shoot at and he made no mistake.

The Giants head to Sheffield on Sunday in the Elite League having already beaten the Steelers in their own rink this season.

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