Belfast Giants face more woe with suspension threat hanging over Goulakos
Belfast Giants defenceman Spiro Goulakos is under investigation by the Elite League's Department of Player Safety over two separate incidents during Sunday night's ill-tempered win over the Sheffield Steelers.
The Giants are ready, however, to launch a stern defence of their player, claiming he was more sinned against in the incident that saw him thrown out of the game and that Goulakos acted in self defence when the victim of a deliberate act.
Goulakos was the victim of a vicious hit by Sheffield's Colton Fretter in the eighth minute of the third period, 55 seconds after his goal put the Giants 3-2 up.
The match video shows that Fretter's hit came a full three seconds after Goulakos released the puck. Goulakos was ejected for a kicking offence and the video shows him pushing his skate into Fretter after falling to the ice.
Earlier in the game, Goulakos had served a penalty for checking from behind and, under the rules, both incidents are to be automatically reviewed by the DOPS. In addition, the Steelers have asked for a further review into Goulakos' actions.
Fretter, who was also thrown out of the game, is also up for an automatic review.
The Giants have also asked for reviews on incidents involving Guildford Flames pair Jesse Craige and Brett Ferguson during last Friday's game at the SSE Arena.
If Goulakos is hit with a suspension, he will miss Saturday's trip to face Braehead Clan and could also be ruled out of Sunday's game against Edinburgh Capitals - and even later games should chiefs come down hard.
A suspension is the last thing the Giants need, with goaltender Stephen Murphy, defensive trio Jim Vandermeer, Cole Jarrett and Kevin Raine, plus forward Dustin Johner on the injured list.
The injury problems are so bad that coach Adam Keefe dressed for the game in Sheffield and is likely to stay in the line-up if Goulakos is hit with a ban.