Saturday evening saw the Dublin Rams host the Belfast Giants in the IIHL at the Dundalk Ice Dome. The Rams were looking to build upon their 8-1 thrashing of the Flyers a week previous and at the same time avenge for that 4-3 defeat in Dundonald at the hands of the Giants a few weeks ago. Both teams were level on points going into this game and top spot of the table was up for grabs. The Rams had 3 lines rolling throughout this game but were without top forward, Brad Heraghty, and first choice goalkeeper, Eric Tobia. While the Giants were had a full compliment of players and were looking to get another one over on the Rams.
The game kicked off on time and was fast from the start with the Rams being penalised early on for having too many players on the ice. The Giants went on the powerplay and set up in the Rams zone. They were well organised and passed well amongst each other. However, the Rams were happy enough to keep them to the outside. The Giants did break down the Rams excellent penalty killing unit though as Mark Reynolds netted the opening goal of the game with Stanislav Eschner and Arnaud Dos Santos picking up the assists. The Rams were quick to respond with a goal from Aaron Cuskeran who put the pass from Aaron Murphy in the back of the net. The scoring in the first period did not end there however as the game went back and forth with both goalkeepers facing breakaways. The Giants added 2 more before the break with Gareth Roberts and Dos Santos both picking up a goal when the teams were playing 4-on-4. The first period ended Rams 1 – 3 Giants.
The Rams came out flying in the second period as Andrew Moriarty pulled one back for the Rams. However, both teams took a lot of penalties then and it broke up any rhythm that either team had and it wasn’t until both teams decided to stay out of the box that we got another goal. The Rams tied it up at the half-way mark of the game when Bret Dilabbio fired a puck on net which appeared to get deflected by a Giants player. Either way, the game was now tied with only half the game gone. However, the Rams let themselves down as they took a barrage of penalties and allowed the Giants to add another powerplay goal just before the end of the period. Gareth Roberts fired a wrist shot into the top left corner as the puck fell to him in the slot. The Rams keeper had no chance as the shot was perfect. The second period ended Rams 3 – 4 Giants.
The third period was to be all the Rams as they scored 3 unanswered goals to put this game out of reach of the Giants. First up was Matt Hearn on the powerplay to tie the game and lead the way to the Rams comeback. Dilabbio then added his second of the night followed by Moriarty’s second. This gave the Rams a 2 goal lead which they were able to hold on to. Both goalkeepers played well with Sean Gibson in net for the Rams making 33 saves but the choice of keepers had to be the Giants’ who made 39 saves including some last gasp saves to give his team a chance right to the end.
Final Score – Dublin Rams 6 – 4 Belfast Giants