Manchester Storm 5 – 1 Belfast Giants
A stunning team performance saw the Manchester Storm recording a 5-1 win over the Belfast Giants this past Saturday night at the Altrincham Ice Rink and land an early blow ahead of the sides Challenge Cup meeting next month. Two goals by Canadian Forward Darian Dziurzynski helped his side on their path to victory in what was a tight game up until the third period, and that before the Storm went into top gear for the win.
Both these sides will get to know each other a little better within a month, as Manchester and Belfast will face other four more times before the turn of the year and so perhaps it wasn’t much of a shock when the sides were almost feeling the other out to begin with. Belfast then started to find some shooting lanes of which to work with and had the home side needing to be good defensively, while Mike Clemente between the pipes for the home side was making some routine stops as he was seeing the puck clearly.
Manchester’s Paul Phillips looking for support – Pic: Photos by Aaliyah & Mark Ferriss of All Sports Photography
Manchester themselves had some chances in the opening frame, but the Giants netminder Stephen Murphy kept the hosts at bay. With the Giants out shooting their hosts in the period, it had the home side taking the lead through Darian Dziurynzski after Mario Trubucco played a lovely pass across the face of goal and so his fellow Countryman find the net from close range to give the Storm the lead midway through the first. Taylor Dickin then sat for two in the penalty box after he was called for a slash and that left the home side having to kill off a penalty.
With Belfast’s powerplay unit trying to set up a clear sight on goal, it led to the puck coming to Manchester’s Mark Heatley and he played a flip pass up to Jack Prince and the British forward broke away and then finished with a little move to slip it under the keeper for a short-handed goal and double the lead for the Storm. As the play entered the final minute of the first period, it saw the Storm unable to fully clear the zone and led to the visitors pulling a goal back through Colin Shields with 20 seconds left for 2-1 game.
Second period saw both teams doing a good job of breaking up plays and having some decent amounts of pressure, but neither side were able to make it count. The Northern Irish outfit then tried to use their physical style to conjure up a goal-scoring chance, but it had Manchester sticking to their task and not allowing the Giants to disrupt their game plan and saw goalless second.
Mario Trubucco celebrates putting Manchester 3-1 up – Pic: Photos by Aaliyah & Mark Ferriss of All Sports Photography
In the third it saw play going back and forth between the two sides and had the Storm playing outstanding at the back as a defensive unit. Belfast had out shot the home side in the first two periods of the contest and apart from the Shields effort in the first period, it saw the Giants trying everything to try to force an equaliser but Clemente was determined to deny the visiting shooters.
With less than ten minutes left to go it saw the turning point in the game when Mario Trubucco blocked a Belfast players pass just outside the Storm zone and that led to a foot race for the puck and saw Trubucco breaking away for one on one-and scoring for a 3-1 lead to give the hosts some breathing space. Minutes later it saw Dziurynzski then making it 4-1 for the Storm, as a bounce off the boards fell favourably for the forward as he quickly turned and shot to extend the lead further for the home side.
Those two quick goals looked to have taken the wind out of the Giants sails and that saw the home side becoming more confident towards the back-end of the game. Belfast were making silly errors and saw local boy Paul Swindlehurst rounding off night with a goal, after defenseman begged for the pass and his low shot went through Murphy to seal victory for Manchester and leave Storm coach Omar Pacha extremely happy. The win was their first over Belfast as the new Storm and will give them confidence ahead of the upcoming clashes against Derrick Walser’s side within the month- in both the League and quarter-final games.