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Newcastle Vipers 3 Belfast Giants 4: Giants working overtime to win

By Stuart McKinley

Ed Courtenay wasn't complaining about having to work overtime again last night as the Belfast Giants claimed an eighth victory in their last nine away league games.

It was the player-coach himself who came up trumps on Friday night to hammer home the sudden-death winner against Coventry Blaze.

Last night in Newcastle it was a case of cometh the hour, cometh the man as Pete Campbell grabbed his 21st goal of the season - his 16th in just 19 games for the Giants.

Campbell just can't stop scoring since his arrival in Belfast and few of his strikes can have been better timed.

Just 22 seconds into the additional five minutes he fired home after Mark Dutiaume and Trevor Johnson had done the work to set him up.

And as the Giants try to put the squeeze on the teams above them they are now just three points behind the Vipers.

It would have been two if the win could have been achieved inside 60 minutes, but after trailing 2-0 at the end of the first period it was definitely an early Christmas present for the Giants and their fans.

Derek Campbell put the Vipers in front and then Shaun Johnson doubled the lead on the powerplay 10 seconds before the first break.

The Giants then had their hosts shell-shocked as they hit three goals in two minutes to go in front.

Courtenay delivered the first from Trevor Johnson's pass just before the midway point of the game and then he set up Dutiaume for the leveller.

Johnson and Dutiaume - who both had a good night points wise - where then on hand to provide Courtenay with the chance as he gave the Giants the lead for the first time in the game.

With Newcastle reeling and the Giants confidence on the rise it looked like the points would be heading back to Belfast quite comfortably, but the Vipers still had some bite.

Three minutes into the final period Sergiy Rublivsky struck to restore parity and ultimately that meant overtime.

The Giants had to wait until 24 seconds from the end of the extra period on Friday, but this time only 22 seconds had elapsed when Campbell's hot form continued to make the journey back to Belfast by road and sea not seem as long as it might have if the result had been different.

Belfast Telegraph

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