Super Shields fires hat-trick to send out Giant threat to Devils
Belfast Giants 7 Nottingham Panthers 3
Colin Shields cracked home a hat-trick as the Belfast Giants recorded a magnificent seven against the Nottingham Panthers at the SSE Arena last night.
And the 7-3 victory for Derrick Walser's men sees them close the gap on the Cardiff Devils at the top of the Elite League table to five points - albeit with the Welsh side having a game in hand.
Scotsman Shields scored once in each period to take his tally for the season to 22 in the league, as well as adding two assists for good measure.
Shields had a hand in the opening goal at 10:34, combining with Steve Saviano who then fed James Desmarais to strike from the top of the circle.
The second goal came just two and a half minutes later. Desmarais was the creator this time, linking up with Ryan Martinelli before giving the puck to Mike Quesnele who skated forward to score.
The Giants then made it three goals inside four minutes when Shields struck his first of the night at 14:08 when he hit a first time shot into the net after being set up by Martinelli.
Nottingham struck first in the second period, even though they were outnumbered. Geoff Waugh was penalised for holding at 24:01, but just 36 seconds later Logan MacMillan sent Chris Lawrence through to beat Stephen Murphy.
The three-goal lead was restored just 38 seconds later when the Giants were still on a powerplay, Walser and Shields setting up David Rutherford.
The Giants fifth also came on a powerplay, this time Rutherford returned the favour as Shields doubled his tally at 27:33.
Blair Riley made it 6-1 at 29:32 and Shields sealed his hat-trick three minutes into the third period.
Then it was Nottingham's turn, Lawrence scoring his second at 50:51 before Dan Spang struck 22 seconds before the end.