Elite League: Belfast Giants trounce Dundee Stars 7-2 at SSE Arena

By Nigel RinglandBBC Sport NI
Matt Pelech was on target twice for the Belfast Giants
Matt Pelech was on target twice for the Belfast Giants

The Belfast Giants hammered the Dundee Stars 7-2 in their Elite League clash at the SSE Arena on Friday night.

Matt Pelech led the rout with a pair of goals with Patryk Wronka, Jordan Smotherman, Liam Morgan, Lewis Hook and Jesse Forsberg also on the scoresheet.

Brian Ward picked up four assists for the triumphant hosts.

The victory moves the Giants up to fifth place in the standings just four points behind the leaders Sheffield Steelers, but with three games in hand.

The home side took the lead at 8:15 when the Stars turned the puck over just outside their blueline allowing Lewis Hook to find Wronka all alone in front of Alex Leclerc and he found the gap between the goaltender's pads.

The lead was not held for long with Dundee equalising through Matt Marquardt. His effort was initially ruled out by the referee and play went on for over a minute.

At the next stoppage it was reviewed on instant replay and the call on the ice was changed with the puck hitting the back bar of the net and bouncing back into play.

Giants pressure rewarded with goals

The Giants' goalscoring problems this season have been well documented but they would finish the first period on a high with a couple of goals that their pressure deserved.

After some strong forechecking Curtis Leonard set up Smotherman who went high glove side on Leclerc to put the home team back in front.

More heavy pressure, this time on the powerplay, saw Leclerc struggle to corral the puck and Morgan was on the doorstep to knock it into the open net.

It was quickly a one-goal game early in the second period. Giants netminder Shane Owen made the first save but could not control the rebound and Elgin Pearce knocked it in.

Liam Morgan
Liam Morgan scored for the Giants

Giants captain Pelech is known for delivering huge hits but he showed more than a little finesse in his game to score the fourth goal.

First came the strength to hold off the defenceman as he cut towards the net and then the nice control to skate through the crease and apply the backhand finish.

The Giants extended their lead to 5-2 when Leclerc had rebound control issues, again failing to hold the shot from Paul Swindlehurst and allowing Hook to score.

An excellent period was capped with another powerplay marker for the Giants with a Pelech blast from the top of the slot.

Suddenly it was a case of what goalscoring problems? A little knuckleball of a shot from Forsberg deceived Leclerc as it bounced and skipped past him to make it 7-2 in the final period.

The Giants will travel to the Manchester Storm on Saturday night.

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