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Resilient Giants keep pressure on Devils

Sheffield Steelers 4 - Belfast Giants 5

By Stuart McKinley

The Belfast Giants staged a remarkable comeback to make it a perfect double-header weekend against the Sheffield Steelers.

After a relatively comfortable 5-2 win on Saturday, the Giants had to work much harder second time round but still hit five goals in a 5-4 success to stay a point behind the Cardiff Devils at the top of the Elite League table.

The Steelers looked like they were determined to make up for their well below-par performance on Saturday and were 2-0 ahead with less than nine minutes on the clock.

Luke Ferarra struck the first at 3:57 after being set up by Yared Hagos and Jonathan Phillips.

The lead was doubled less than five minutes later when Colton Fretter and Markus Nilsson carved out the opportunity for Mathieu Roy at 8:42

It was then, however, that the Steelers began to look uncomfortable and within two minutes their lead had been cut in half.

Levi Nelson had been sent to the penalty box for an elbowing offence and the Giants exacted punishment when Blair Riley and James Desmarais opened up the defence and Colin Shields netted at 10:23.

That was the start of the comeback that gained momentum with two goals in just over five minutes in the second period. Riley was the beneficiary of some good work by Chris Higgins and Jim Vandermeer and he provided the finish to level the scores at 23:02.

A hooking call against Nilsson then gave the Giants their second powerplay and the outcome was the same as the first, Desmarais setting up David Rutherford at 28:09.

Sheffield were level seven and a half minutes into the third period, Zack Fitzgerald setting up Nelson. The Steelers' hopes were dashed, however, when Steve Saviano struck twice in quick succession to win the game.

He finished off a fine move involving Shields and Desmarais to restore the Giants' lead at 51:33.

The same trio did the damage when the Giants increased the deficit at 53:17, Saviano (left) again the scorer.

Still determined that they weren't going to surrender easily, the Steelers made it 5-4 with just 57 remaining on a powerplay thanks to Hagos.

They couldn't find the equalising goal, however.

Belfast Telegraph

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