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Giants hit the goal rush to keep heat on leaders

Edinburgh Capitals 3 Belfast Giants 8

By Stuart McKinley

Seven different players scored for the Belfast Giants as they hammered the Edinburgh Capitals 8-3 to keep up their chase of the Cardiff Devils at the top of the Elite League table.

Colin Shields (two), Jonathan Boxill, Chris Higgins, Steve Saviano, Adam Keefe, Matt Nickerson and James Desmarais were all on target in the Giants' sixth successive league victory.

After also beating Braehead Clan on Saturday night, the Giants remain a point behind the Devils - who have won their last four.

The margin of victory may suggest that it was a comfortable win for the Giants, but it wasn't until six minutes before the end of the second period that they really took control of the game.

Prior to that the Capitals had traded blows, but in the end they just didn't have enough to stay the pace with the red-hot Giants.

Shields put the Giants in front when he sent the puck into the net from Desmarais' pass at 3:18, but the Capitals were level just 22 seconds later through Jaroslav Hertl after he was set up by Taylor MacDougall and Karel Hromas.

The Giants had only two penalties in a pretty tame game and they took advantage of both.

The first came at 17:36 when Shields scored his second. Player/coach Derrick Walser picked up a pass from Matt Towe and Shields deflected into the net.

The Capitals were level again just over two minutes into the second period.

Jared Staal got his stick to Richards Grigors' shot and that was enough to take the puck past Giants goaltender Stephen Murphy - who was starting for the second match in a row to clock up his 400th game for the club.

The Giants forged ahead for the third time in a non-stop game at 26:48. Walser and Towe were again involved in the build-up, with Boxill scoring with a powerful finish.

Edinburgh refused to be shaken off though and they equalised once again at 33:15. Staal was the architect this time, collecting Garrett Milan's pass and striking for goal, with Murphy being beaten by a deflection off Matt Tipoff.

That, however, was as good as it got for the Capitals.

Higgins skated through on his own and rounded Edinburgh goaltender Travis Fullerton before scoring the Giants' fourth just 49 seconds later and from then on they were in control.

Saviano crashed home a powerful first-time shot after collecting Mike Quesnele's pass on a powerplay 44 seconds before the end of the second period to stretch the lead before the Giants powered to victory in the third.

Five minutes into the period, Giants captain Keefe got in on the goalscoring act when he took the puck and sent a strong wrist shot into the Capitals' net.

Three minutes later, Nickerson moved forward from his defensive position and collected a pass from fellow defenceman Mark Garside before firing home a powerful slapshot into the back of the net.

Nickerson got forward again when he set up Desmarais for the eighth goal three minutes from the end as the Giants recorded their second highest goal tally of the season after putting nine past the Capitals when they visited Belfast just before Christmas.

Belfast Telegraph

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