Belfast Giants' league hopes in tatters after Cardiff Devils defeat
Cardiff Devils 4 Belfast Giants 3 (OT)
The Belfast Giants' Elite League title hopes are over.
Back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Cardiff Devils and wins for the Sheffield Steelers over the Nottingham Panthers and Coventry Blaze mean the Giants last three league games are academic.
Saturday's 5-2 loss in the Welsh capital left the Giants needing full points from their remaining games, as well as a favour or two, but with their destiny out of their own hands, staying in the race right until the end was unlikely and a 4-3 overtime defeat killed their chances.
It was a crazy game, with five Giants in the penalty box at one time during an ill-tempered second period and Chris Higgins later thrown out of the game.
The Giants started so well too, with Kris Beech (9:08) and Mike Forney (14:36) putting the Giants 2-0 up in the first period.
Cardiff fought back during a four-minute spell in the second period, with Zach Hervato (27:12) and two Jake Morissette strikes (10:00) and (11:03) - the second on a five-on-three powerplay - scoring to put them in front.
Higgins levelled two minutes before the end of the second period and was then kicked out five minutes before the end.
Tomas Kurka netted the decisive goal two minutes into overtime and a Devils win in Belfast on Wednesday will put them joint top alongside Sheffield with two games to go.