Twenty-seven saves in his second shutout of the season by Tyler Beskorowany helped the Stena Line Belfast Giants win in their first game since the international break, defeating the Nottingham Panthers 2-0 at Motorpoint Arena.
Steve Owre scored for the third game in a row and Scott Conway scored his team-leading 39th goal of the season to help Adam Keefe’s side share first place in the Elite League alongside the Guildford Flames.
The Giants were the first team tested on the penalty shootout when Ben Lake was penalized for hooking, but an aggressive special teams effort kept the Panthers off the scoreboard on the power play.
The rest of the period turned out to be a battle between the netminders, and while Beskorowany had to be huge to prevent the Panthers from signing Niko Lahtinen as he tried to jam the puck off the gate, it was Peyton Jones who was much busier on the other end.
The former Giants goalie first made a superb double save to deny David Gilbert and Ciaran Long, then had to react quickly to prevent Scott Conway from hitting a puck behind the net after Sean Norris and Will Cullen had great chances.
But his best save came just late in the first period, a Nottingham toss in their own zone that allowed Gilbert to score the shot, but Jones extended a base ball to deny it at the last second.
The goalkeeping battle continued in midfield and Beskorowany pulled off his best save of the game when David Levin drove into the net and fired a backhand into the top corner, but it was denied.
Unfortunately for the Giants, Jones was just as good on the other end, as he once again prevented Conway from opening the scoring with a superb one-time bag save before blocking Mark Cooper’s one-on-one effort.
The Giants survived a scare early in the third period when Jeremy Welsh fired a rebound on goal that came off the bar, and the officials needed a video review to determine that it had not actually come off the back bar.
But after the right call was made, it was the Giants who went ahead, captain David Goodwin firing the puck forward for Owre, who spiked it from the slot at 50:27 for the game-winner. (0-1)
Looking for the tying goal, the Panthers pulled Jones for the extra skater, but it turned out to work in the Giants’ favor when Conway picked up the loose puck in his own zone and fired it across the ice for the game-winner at 59:33. . (0-2)
UNTIL NEXT TIME
The Stena Line Belfast Giants continue on the road when they take on the Guildford Flames on Wednesday 15 February, before returning to Belfast’s SSE Arena on Friday 18 February to take on Glasgow Clan. Tickets are on sale HERE!