Belfast Telegraph

Giants on cloud nine after Devils' lead at top slashed

Belfast Giants 9-6 Edinburgh Capitals

By Stuart McKinley

The Belfast Giants served up a real pre-Christmas cracker as they cut the Cardiff Devils' lead at the top of the Elite League table to just four points.

While Derrick Walser's men were scoring nine times in an amazing 15-goal thriller, Manchester Storm were winning 3-2 in Wales and that combination of results has thrown the title race wide open.

James Desmarais, Blair Riley and Alex Foster each scored twice, while Chris Higgins, Steve Saviano and Matt Towe also chipped in.

There was little sign of what was to come when it took the Giants 13 minutes to break the deadlock.

Capitals goatender Jonathan Marr was proving as difficult to beat as he had done in the first game of the double header on Thursday, but finally Desmarais found a way past him on the wraparound after good work from Colin Shields.

The Giants then scored seven times in a whirlwind 15-minute spell, starting 61 seconds before the end of the first period when Riley and Mike Forney connected at the end of a great team move before the latter exchanged passes with Higgins, who finished at the back door.

The second period was only a minute and 22 seconds old when the Giants stretched their lead, David Rutherford setting up Riley to score.

Just 80 seconds later it was 4-0, Foster rattling past Marr.

An interference call against Mike Quesnele gave the Capitals an opening and they netted on the powerplay at 24:02 thanks to Taylor MacDougall.

Then Desmarais netted his second of the game.

The Giants then made it 6-1 at 27:34 when Saviano pounced.

Foster netted his second - and his team's seventh - at 31:54. Riley made it 8-1 at 33:21.

Yevgeni Fyodorov netted Edinburgh's second goal at 42:17.

Pavel Vorobyev cut the deficit further with the third at 45:54 and Fyodorov brought it back to 8-4 early in the 48th minute.

The fans were a little bit more relaxed when Towe scored the ninth two minutes later and chants of "we want 10" rang around the SSE Arena.

They didn't get the double digits though. Instead Jared Staal and Michal DOrazio scored in the final minutes to give the scoreline a more respectable look for the Capitals.

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