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Giant belief in Belfast title bid

By Stuart McKinley

Published 22/12/2007

It's time to start believing. And we're not talking about Santa Claus here.

The Belfast Giants really can win the Elite League title.

After the first few weeks of the season when the team won just three of their opening 11 games the prospect of the Championship coming to Northern Ireland at the end of the season were somewhere between slim and remote.

As the season has progressed the team's prospects have improved, but not until last night did they really show the rest of the league that the Belfast Giants are a force to be reckoned with this season.

Coach Ed Courtenay has continually backed his team as title contenders even though they still occupy the bottom half of the table.

Actions speak louder than words though and the players have backed up the coaches comments by recording back-to-back wins against defending champions and currently league leaders Coventry Blaze in the space of six days.

Last Sunday's 2-0 victory in the SkyDome was a massive result for the Giants and to prove it was no fluke they came from behind twice last night to take the game into overtime before Courtenay himself grabbed the winner with only 24 seconds of overtime remaining.

Barrie Moore notched both of Coventry's goals, coming ten minutes apart in the first period.

Pete Campbell showed why the Giants powerplay is so hot right now by netting the first equaliser, with George Awada making it 2-2 five minutes into the second period.

After four goals in the first 25 minutes the rival goaltenders put up the blocks for the next 35 minutes and it was almost 40.

Courtenay found the winner though with the clock ticking down, netting his own rebound after Trevor Koenig had done his best to deny Belfast the winner.

"I'm the one that has said we have a never-say-die attitude," said Courtenay.

"We have deserved every point we've got in the 15 games ad although we only gained one point on Coventry we've gained two on everyone else ahead of us and although our first period wasn't the best when you get two points nobody complains.

"It's another good psychological boost for us because we have taken some points off Coventry when we have played them."

The Giants will now look for a final Christmas present for the fans by collecting a further two points when they take on the Newcastle Vipers in the north-east of England on Sunday night.

Belfast Telegraph

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