Belfast Giants go five clear after four goal blitz
Dundee Stars 1 Belfast Giants 4: Three goals in a hot eight-minute spell secured a 4-1 victory for the Belfast Giants in Dundee that saw them move five points clear at the top of the Elite League table.
Jeffrey Szwez, Kevin Phillips and Craig Peacock all netted in the first period to stun the Dundee Stars.
Although Nico Sacchetti pulled one back for the Stars early in the second period Chris Higgins restored the three-goal advantage within nine minutes and after that the Giants strolled to victory in the second half of the game.
The win means that even though Braehead Clan have two games in hand over the Giants, they will not be able to overtake Paul Adey's men.
The Giants were on top from the early stages and Szwez scored the opener with just three minutes on the clock.
Calvin Elfring brought the puck out of defence, moved it on to Dustin Whitecotton and he set up Szwez for his 12th goal of the season.
The Giants' lead was doubled less than a minute later.
Evan Cheverie and Chris Higgins were the architects of the chance that was created for Phillips and he knocked in his second goal since returning to the Giants from Braehead in the summer.
The whirlwind opening continued when the Giants scored again at 10:32. Captain Adam Keefe linked up with Mark Garside and after he supplied Peacock the Englishman made no mistake in beating Dan Bakala in the Dundee goal.
The Stars rallied at the start of the second period and pulled a goal back when player-coach Jeff Hutchins – a former Giants player – started the move for Sacchetti to finish.
That was as good as it got for the home side though as the Giants refused to give them any hope of getting back into the game.
The door was firmly shut in their face less than a minute after the midway point of the game when Phillips and Colin Shields worked the puck to Higgins, who provided the finishing touch.
With the match doubling up as a Challenge Cup game the Giants have also clinched top spot in their group and will now face the Hull Stingrays in a two-legged quarter-final.
The Giants now head to Nottingham tomorrow night with the chance to stretch their lead at the top to seven points.
They will go into that game without defenceman Jeff Mason and forward pair Darryl Lloyd and Robbie Brown who are all still missing from the line-up due to injuries.