Belfast Giants fight back to create more history
Published 08/03/2014 | 01:30
Three goals in the final 10 minutes completed a magnificent comeback for the Belfast Giants as the Elite League champions claimed another record.
After winning the title earlier than any other team has done before, the Giants clawed their way back from 4-2 down to beat the Cardiff Devils 5-4 at the Odyssey Arena.
With it they equalled the club's record of 16 successive victories and Colin Shields, who is the Giants all-time leading goalscorer, netted the decisive strike with just over two minutes of play remaining.
The Devils – now led by former Giants coach Dave Whistle – came to Belfast determined to end the champions' winning run and they opened the scoring with just 68 seconds of the game gone.
Markus Rama squeezed the puck past Giants goaltender Stephen Murphy after being set up by Matthew Myers and Luke Piggott.
The Giants hit back within six minutes, after Mac Faulkner's hooking penalty put them on the powerplay. Craig Peacock made full use of the numerical advantage to score his 20th goal of the season.
The Devils had plenty of pressure in the first period, but defenceman Cody Brookwell then put the Giants in front at 16:49.
The second period was quiet, although Giants captain Adam Keefe did his best to spice things up when he fought with old rival Brad Plumpton.
The only goal of the period came when Cardiff levelled the scores with just eight seconds to go.
It was Rama who netted again, this time with Andrew Lord and Max Birbraer assisting.
Sensing that the win was there for the taking, Cardiff came out strong in the third period and went 4-2 up with two goals in as many minutes.
Myers scored at 46:11 before Faulkner struck his 34th of the season at 47:59.
The immense character in the 2014 Belfast Giants team shone through though as they battled back to win the game.
Kevin Phillips pulled one back less than three minutes after Faulkner's goal and from that moment the comeback was on.
Roared on by a 4,500 crowd at the Odyssey, the Giants levelled through a Jeffrey Szwez powerplay goal at 55:53 to set up a grandstand finish.
The immense pressure eventually paid off at 57:43 when Szwez and Dustin Whitecotton set up Shields and he completed the dramatic comeback to record another slice of history.