Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Belfast Giants looking for favours to keep title

Edinburgh Caps 3 Belfast Giants 2

Defeat in Edinburgh has left the Belfast Giants relying on the Cardiff Devils if they are to retain the Elite League title.

And even a favour from the Welsh club won't be enough if the Giants don't win both games in the massive double-header against the Nottingham Panthers at the Odyssey Arena this weekend.

Even before the weekend it was vital that the Giants record back-to-back wins against the leaders in order to take the title race down to the last game, but now, if the Panthers win either of the games on their trip to Belfast they will be crowned champions.

Seeing another team snatch their crown away on their own ice would be heartbreaking for Giants coach Doug Christiansen and his players, but that's what could happen now after they went down 3-2 to the Edinburgh Capitals last night.

Too often in recent times the Giants have fallen behind and left themselves a lot of work to do. This time it caught them out and it could be the costliest defeat of the season.

The Capitals grabbed the lead early on when defenceman Brent Patry scored with just 85 seconds on the clock.

They went further ahead on a powerplay at 37:57, just as the Giants thought they had killed a penalty and it was 3-0 midway through the third period when Martin Cingel found the net.

That sparked a comeback from the Giants, but despite Craig Peacock and Andrew Fournier – his fourth goal of the weekend after a hat-trick in the 6-2 win over Braehead on Saturday – scoring within 43 seconds of each other, they couldn't find a third goal to take the game to overtime.

The Giants are now six points behind the Panthers, who beat Sheffield 2-0 on Saturday and Hull 3-1 last night, with both teams having just four games left to play.

Two of them are against each other next weekend and they are now must-win games for the Giants.

Anything less will give Nottingham the title, but if the race goes down to the final two games Nottingham will then face Cardiff at home on Friday March 22 before a trip to Wales 48 hours later, when a regulation time win would clinch the league.

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