Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Belfast Giants show steel

Sheffield Steelers 2 Belfast Giants 3

Victory over the Sheffield Steelers has given the Belfast Giants some small comfort after losing their Elite League title to the Nottingham Panthers.

Sunday  night's 3-2 win in Yorkshire was enough for the Giants to win the Erhardt Conference and although it is nothing compared to the glamour of being crowned champions, there is at least some reward.

Doug Christiansen's side will now go into the play-offs as second seeds and that means they have avoided a quarter-final battle with the Cardiff Devils.

The other piece of good news is that they now can't meet the Panthers before the final.

They will now go head-to-head with the Edinburgh Capitals next Saturday and Sunday for the right to head to Nottingham.

With six players missing – Jeff Mason, Will Colbert, Mark Garside, Colin Shields, Greg Stewart and Daymen Rycroft all spent the weekend in Belfast rather that on the road with their team-mates – Christiansen was only able to ice 10 imports, one of whom was back-up goaltender Garrett Zemlak.

That didn't stop them from recording a four-point weekend to finishing the league season on a high as well as injecting some confidence before next weekend's play-off final four elimination games.

After a comfortable enough 4-2 win over Coventry Blaze on Saturday night the Giants stuttered against the Steelers, but showed their character to come out on top.

Simon Ferguson gave Sheffield an early lead, netting from Jeff Legue's assist at 3:42.

Sheffield had been on top during the first period, but they were pegged back when the Giants levelled matters three minutes into the second.

The Steelers were just two seconds away from successfully killing a penalty when David Phillips set up Kevin Saurette for his 14th goal of the season.

Sheffield went back in front three minutes before the end of the period when Chris Frank supplied the ammunition for Steven Goertzen to finish.

The Giants won the game with two goals inside 71 seconds early in the third period.

Matt Towe followed up his goal against Coventry with his second in 24 hours and Noah Clarke stepped up to net the winner from a penalty shot at 45:40.

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