Video: Belfast Giants stride clear at top as super fan Cameron Hughes entertains Odyssey crowd
Published 14/12/2013 | 12:30
Belfast Giants 3 Fyfe Flyers 2: Calvin Elfring netted the overtime winner for the Belfast Giants as they moved six points clear at the top of the Elite League table ahead of tonight's Odyssey Arena clash with the Sheffield Steelers.
Like the match itself, however, the goal that won the match for the Giants wasn't without controversy.
Elfring struck on the powerplay in the third minute of overtime after a hooking offence against Derek Roehl.
The Fife bench was incensed at the decision to send Roehl to the penalty box, which left them with just three players against four Giants and the goal that denied them at least a penalty shoot out only added to the rage.
It wasn't Roehl's first spell in the penalty box on what was an eventful night for the American centreman.
He scored the opening goal of the game and was then involved in a fight with David Phillips in a feisty first period, in which Giants captain Adam Keefe and Fife's Matt Nickerson also went toe-to-toe.
The Roehl v Phillips battle was, by far, the more significant battle with the Giants player not only being hit with a five-minute fighting penalty, he was also punished for being the instigator and his protests brought him a 10-minute misconduct penalty on top of that.
By that stage Fife were 1-0 in front after they rocked the Giants at 17:36 when Roehl netted from Andy Contois' assist.
The Giants were more like themselves in the second period, but it took a five-on-three powerplay six minutes in to bring the equaliser.
Nickerson and Kyle Haines were both sent to the box at the same time and it took the Giants just 17 seconds to make full use of their numerical advantage as Evan Cheverie scored at 26:59.
It took a bit longer for the Giants to take the lead on their next powerplay.
This time Jordan Fulton was punished for hooking and Cheverie turned provider as he and Kevin Saurette set up Chris Higgins to score.
Fife were proving hard to shake off and they levelled the game at 45:54 when Bobby Chaumont collected Matt Reber's pass and fired past Stephen Murphy.
Haines and Saurette were both handed two-minute penalties after a set-to a couple of minutes later, but things really sparked when Haines clashed with Robby Sandrock shortly after his return to the ice.
They went at it after colliding with each other and after things calmed down both were thrown out of the game – with Haines done for kneeing while Sandrock was deemed to have cross checked his opponent before the fight ensued.
There was still more drama to come though, with the controversy that surrounded the winning goal.
The Giants got on with the game though and with Roehl powerless to help his team-mates as Jeff Mason and Dustin Whitecotton created the opportunity for Elfring to net the game's decisive goal.