Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Thornton elated after Belfast Giants' thrilling win

Steve Thornton admitted that he went through agony on the bench as his Belfast Giants team claimed the Elite League Play-off title in Nottingham.

After reaching the final via a penalty shoot-out victory over the Nottingham Panthers on Saturday night, last night’s clash with the Cardiff Devils also went all the way to shots after a thrilling 2-2.

The Giants had led 2-0 just after the midway point of the game, but just 26 seconds after that second goal Cardiff pulled one back and they then went on to level the score to take the game into 10 minutes of overtime.

When no winner could be found it was left to Evan Cheverie to net the winning shot.

“It was tough to watch one shoot-out, let alone two,” said Giants player-coach Thornton.

“It was especially tough on Saturday because the ice was cut up and guys were losing the puck when they were trying to shoot.

“I don’t know why they brought the Zamboni out in the final, but it was the right thing to do.

“If you go back over the league we lost that because of the points we dropped from shoot-outs and that’s what the weekend came down to.

“We practice them all the time, but I wouldn’t have fancied our chances.

“We win the last trophy of the season though, it’s one of the big ones and we go into the summer with the best feeling.”

Not quite in the mould of Steve Redgrave, who famously announced, “I hereby give permission to anybody who catches me in a boat again to shoot me,” after winning Olympic gold in 1996 before going on to collect his fifth medal in 2000, Thornton insists that he won’t be putting his skates on again next season.

“There is zero chance of me playing again,” he said, although it remains to be seen if injuries change that next season.

“It is a good way to go out and we have other guys in the team who are like me and they will finish with the taste of victory.

“It would have stung to have finished as a loser, especially in a shoot-out, but I don’t have to think about that now and I am pleased for the other guys too.

“Evan had scored two penalty shots against Stevie Lyle in Cardiff this season.

“He wanted it again and he was hungry for it and he’s ended up the hero.”

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