Sunday evening saw the Belfast Giants host the Dublin Rams at the Dundonald International Ice Bowl. The face of was scheduled for 4:45 p.m. and each team had taken points from the other in their previous games. The Giants most notably a few weeks previous in Dundonald defeated the Rams 4-3 with a late and dramatic comeback. The Rams on the other hand had inflicted their revenge in Dundalk a week ago with a 6-4 victory. This game would be the last time the two teams meet each other this season and a win would put either of them in a strong position in the top half of the table.
The Rams were quick off the mark in the first period and they were leading by two goals with less than two minutes played. Brad Heraghty scored the opening goal of the game at the 1:38 mark and this was followed by Matt Hearn twenty one seconds later. The Rams were coasting in these first 10 minutes and dominated the play and they should have put this game in the bag then. However, after a shaky start Scott Bickerstaff stood strong in goal for the Giants and made some solid saves. This gave his team a bit of momentum as they pulled two goals back in quick succession with Gareth Roberts getting a goal mouth scramble while Arnaud Dos Santos scored after a nice pass from Ross Bickerstaff. The score was now tied and both teams were having an even amount of possession and as good a go as the other. The first period ended Giants 2-2 Rams.
The second period started like the first period ended, each team was attacking and defending very well and the play was back and forth. There was nothing between the teams in this period with the Rams looking very tired. They had only 11 skaters and the young, fast Giants were making them work very hard. The only goal of the period came on the powerplay after Robert Leckey went to the box for charging. After the faceoff, the puck came to Ross O’Driscoll on the point who shot a low hard shot into the bottom corner past the unsuspecting Bickerstaff. The second period ended Giants 2-3 Rams.
The third period was much the same as the previous two with the Rams becoming increasingly tired. The action was back and forth with each team being caught on the break for 3-on-2’s or 2-on-1’s but the goalkeepers came up strong each time. The first goal of the period came from the Rams at the 9:21 mark with Andrew Moriarty getting his first of the game with Morrison getting the assist. Moriarty got his second less than thirty seconds later to give the Rams a three goal cushion. Stevie Hamill then made it a four goal cushion one minute later. Then with just over five minutes left in the game, the Giants’ goalkeeper, Andrew Dickson, had a mix up with one of his defenders and this resulted in Aaron Murphy putting the puck into an empty net. This finished the scoring and the game.
Another clean game with the Giants having only twelve minutes in penalties and the Rams only six minutes. The Rams edged the shots on goal as they had forty five shots. Scott Bickerstaff stopped twenty nine of those while Andrew Dickson stopped nine. Sean Gibson faced thirty four shots and stopped thirty two of them. Gibson was a lot busier on this occasion than the previous night but he was up to the task. This was an extremely entertaining game and the Rams now sit atop of the IIHL and in a good position as they await tougher games against the Bulls and Hawks. For the Giants, they played extremely well and have shown that they can play with anyone in the league.
PIM Giants 12-6 Rams
SOG Giants 34-45 Rams
Final Score Giants 2-7 Rams