Belfast Telegraph

Giants in the hunt for Devils after crucial win

Belfast Giants 3 - Edinburgh Capitals 0

By Stuart McKinley

Two goals from Colin Shields helped the Belfast Giants to a 3-0 victory over the Edinburgh Capitals that moved them to within six points of the Cardiff Devils at the top of the Elite League table.

Steve Saviano was also on the mark in between Shields' two goals, the second of which came in the final minute after Edinburgh had pulled goaltender Jordan Marr, who has joined them as temporary injury cover.

The victory wasn't as comfortable as the scoreline may suggest and that was in no small part down to Marr's heroics, particularly during the first 30 minutes.

At the opposite end Giants goaltender Jackson Whistle - whose father, former Giants coach Dave Whistle, was in Belfast to watch the game - produced another outstanding performance to keep his team ahead before the victory was secured with two third period goals. There was nothing between the teams during a tight first period, when it looked like the Giants' schedule of eight games already this month was catching up with them.

They also had to do without forward Mike Forney who was handed a suspension after being thrown out of Tuesday night's Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Manchester Storm.

The second period was going the same way until the Giants finally broke deadlock - and Marr's stubborn resistance - at 32:23.

Ryan Martinelli - who was back in the line-up after missing the last few games through injury - collected the pass from Saviano and, although his shot may have been goal-bound anyway, Shields made sure by getting his stick to the puck and deflecting it into the net.

The Giants thought they had doubled the lead a few minutes later.

Chris Higgins even wheeled away in celebration, but the officials were unmoved and the light didn't go on behind the goal either.

The Giants gave themselves some breathing space when they scored the second goal midway through the third period.

A shot from Alex Foster was saved and Saviano was first to react to snap up the rebound at 49:47.

It was almost 3-0 soon after when Shields tipped Derrick Walser's shot, but the puck flew just wide of the goal.

That was followed by a close scare at the other end of the ice when the puck flew across the face of the Giants goal with Whistle out of position.

The Capitals then gambled by pulling goaltender Marr with two minutes still on the clock - a rather unusual move at 2-0 down.

Instead it was the Giants who scored with just 14 seconds to go.

Saviano's pass freed Shields and he skated clear of the chasing defencemen before slotting the puck into the empty net to make sure that there wasn't going to be a dramatic finale.

 

 

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