Stingrays denied but Pacha sees positives

Hull captain Matty Davies argues a call against Belfast Giants. Picture: Arthur Foster.
Hull captain Matty Davies argues a call against Belfast Giants. Picture: Arthur Foster.
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HULL STINGRAYS may have slipped to a fourth defeat in five Elite League games, but there were plenty of encouraging signs for player-coach Omar Pacha following Saturday’s 3-2 loss at home to Belfast Giants.

Special teams dominated in a game which saw the home side get off to the best possible start in only the third minute when Eric Galbraith put them ahead on the powerplay after good work by captain Matty Davies and Carl Lauzon.

But the defending champions – who went into the game unbeaten – were soon on level terms, Craig Peacock making the most of the man advantage for the visitors at 7.30 to level, before fellow GB forward Colin Shields put them ahead at 11.56 with Galbraith sitting in the penalty box on a slashing call.

That was how it stayed until the third period when Steve Thornton’s side doubled their advantage – again on the powerplay – when Ray Sawada found a way past David Brown at 51.22.

But Hull were back to within one goal soon after, when despite defenceman being in the box on a cross-checking call, Lauzon was able to score shorthanded at 52.26, although an equaliser could not be found.

“It was a good hockey game and the guys competed well,” said Pacha. “ It was a game which could have gone either way.

“I like the way we competed. We were two defencemen down again and it hurts, but this team never quits. It’s another one-goal loss which seems to be the story of our season so far.

“I thought Browny (goaltender) played his best game for us. We need that from him every night and that is what we brought him in for. He kept us in the game.

“Hopefully, he can build off that because if he is our best player we have a good chance of winning more games.”