Blair Riley threatens for the Giants in Saturday night’s victory over the Scots at the SSE Arena

Belfast Giants moved top of their Challenge Cup group with an emphatic win over the Dundee Stars at the SSE Arena on Saturday night.

Sebastian Sylvestre scored twice with Dustin Johner, Darcy Murphy, Brendan Connolly, Jonathan Ferland and John Kurtz also netting for the Giants.

The result saw Adam Keefe’s side leapfrog the Stars in Group B with three points from their two games.

The Giants will travel to Edinburgh for a Challenge Cup on Sunday.

All six Belfast scorers were summer signings with the win coming after a 3-2 defeat on penalties by Dundee a fortnight ago.

The home side seized control from the drop of the puck and took an early lead at 1:50 when Johner played a little football with the puck to get it under control before his centring pass, looking for Ryan Martinelli, deflected in off the skate of a Stars defenceman.

Sylvestre on target

Belfast doubled their advantage with an early contender for goal of the season.

At 10:37 Sylvestre picked the puck up in his own zone and then using a combination of speed and skill left the Stars defence in his wake before going top shelf on visiting goaltender Callum Anderson.

An excellent opening period for the Giants was completed on the power play at 16:04 when Connolly found Sylvestre all alone in the slot and he had time to turn and shoot low past Anderson.

The Giants’ fourth goal came early in the second period at 22:33 and was Murphy’s first for his new team.

The Colgate University graduate, who played at the SSE Arena in the first collegiate Friendship Four tournament in 2015, finished at the second attempt after being set up by Colin Shields.

It was all too comfortable until the Giants got into penalty trouble allowing Jimmy Jensen to score at 25:54 as the Stars capitalised on a Giants turnover and when Adam Harding netted at 31:49, knocking in a rebound, it was suddenly a different game.

Delight for Belfast’s Sebastien Sylvestre after hits the Dundee net in the Challenge Cup encounter

However, the penalties for both sides just came on coming and with a two-man advantage at 35:16 the Giants regained the initiative with a goal from Connolly.

But he was soon sitting in the box alongside Martinelli, allowing the Stars to come back once again through Johan Andersson, who scored just after Connolly’s two minutes in the box expired.

The Giants finished the game strongly with two further goals in the final period. The first came on the powerplay at 47:03 when Ferland converted a pretty set-up from Steve Saviano and Kurtz grabbed his first Giants goal at 51:47.

There was still time for the Stars to net another goal when Joey de Concilys scored.


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