Flames hit back after Giants blow
MIKAEL Lidhammer went down in history as Guildford Flames’ first goalscorer in the top flight when he gave his side a 1-0 lead over the Belfast Giants on Saturday.
Though the Giants went on to ruin the Flames’ inaugural Elite League outing with a 6-4 victory, Ian Watters helped his side to a win just 24 hours later when the Guildford side played reigning champions the Cardiff Devils on Sunday.
After falling behind in Ireland, a pair of Giants replies less than a minute apart turned the lead over, but a Ben Davies strike inside the period’s final five minutes ensured a tie at the break.
The Giants scored two more in the second period to take a strong lead.
John Dunbar cut it back when he found the net but a last-second strike by Spiro Goulakos opened a two-goal difference ahead of the third.
David Lillieström Karlsson pulled Surrey’s men to within a goal but Colin Shields made it 6-4 with minutes to go.
The next day, the Flames wiped the memory of their Irish defeat, taking a 1-0 lead early in the first period against the Devils through Watters. Cardiff levelled a minute later but despite a powerplay from the Welsh side it was the Flames who led at the break when Watters tipped in Calle Ackered’s shot for 2-1.
The Devils restored parity at the start of the second but Dunbar put the Flames back in front. The Cardiff team drew level for a third time but Rhett Rachinksi’s first goal as a professional gave the Flames a 4-3 advantage going into the third period.
Tomas Nechala buried a loose puck to make it 5-3 before Watters completed his hat-trick. David Lillieström Karlsson added a seventh and though the visitors got one back, Ackered’s powerplay goal restored the fourgoal spread and ended the contest.
Head coach Paul Dixon said: “I am so pleased for these guys that a good effort has finally been rewarded with a win. They work hard, they skate all game long and, including the challenge games, they deserved at least a little something in terms of results.”