Belfast Telegraph

Variety helps Giants remain in title fight

by Chris McCann

Seven different players scored for the Belfast Giants on Sunday night as they crushed the Newcastle Vipers 8-1 at the Odyssey Arena.

That’s 15 goals from Doug Christiansen’s men in their last two home games and although they are currently third in the Elite League table — trailing leaders Cardiff by five points — they remain very much in the title fight.

The Giants rained an amazing 61 shots on the goal of a Vipers team that was only able to dress 12 players.

Sympathy was in short supply though as the Belfast men kept their foot on the gas right to the end, with the final goal coming just over a minute-and-a-half from the end.

“The games are getting bigger and it’s good for us that we were able to go out and win convincingly. If the game in Sheffield on Saturday night had lasted 65 minutes I think we would have won it,” said Christiansen of the 5-4 defeat.

“It’s a results business though. It doesn’t matter how many shots we have, how many powerplays and how much we dominate games, all that matters is winning.

“We can only beat whatever team is put in front of us and we out-shot Newcastle 18-3 in the first period, but we were only 1-0 in front.

“We’ve been in games like that earlier in the season that we let slip away.

“At least this time we were strong in the second period, scoring three more and that allowed us to open them right up in the third.”

The current Giants will face an All Star team in Shane Johnson’s testimonial game at the Odyssey on Wednesday night, but Christiansen wants his team to focus on their main priority, which is winning the league.

“Shane Johnson was a great player for the Belfast Giants and the reason he was so great is that he won championships,” said Christiansen.

“We’re trying to bring more success to this team and the players have to focus on that and our games at the weekend.”

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