Belfast Giants: Winning mentality can spur us, says Craig Peacock
Craig Peacock hailed the never-say-die attitude of the Belfast Giants after they produced a sensational comeback victory that leaves them needing just seven wins in their remaining 14 games to be crowned Elite League champions.
After beating the Sheffield Steelers 4-2 at the Odyssey on Saturday night, the Giants all but ended the visitors hopes of taking the title with a 4-3 win in the second leg of the weekend double header yesterday.
They had to dig deep for the win though, despite a David Phillips goal – his first of the season – giving them the lead after just 34 seconds.
Jeff Legue equalised a couple of minutes later, but the Giants had the lead at the end of the first period thanks to Peacock scoring at 17:51.
Dustin Kohn and former Giant Chad Langlais scored in the second period to give the Steelers the advantage, but two early goals in the third period, from Peacock and Kevin Saurette, ensured a home victory.
The Giants now have a 19-point lead at the top of the table after all four teams immediately behind them – Sheffield, Dundee, Braehead and Nottingham – all dropped points over the weekend and the title is edging ever closer.
"We found a way to win it in the third period," said Peacock.
"It's a case of not panicking. We have been in that situation a few times this year and we knew what we needed to do
"We went out and tried to stick with our game because we know if we play our game we can beat anybody.
"We stuck with it and tried to grind it through and once we got that lead guys were just battling the whole way and blocking shots with anything they could and that's why we won."
Jeffrey Szwez had put the Giants in front after just 13 seconds on Saturday night and, while Phillips couldn't out-do that, his opener did stun the Steelers.
They reacted well though and, when handed an early powerplay, Sheffield took full advantage thanks to Legue.
Peacock finished high into the roof of the net to restore the Giants' lead, also on a powerplay, but whatever former Odyssey boss Doug Christiansen said to the Steelers players during the first break, it had an impact.
Kohn struck just 49 seconds after play resumed and, although it took another 15 minutes for the next goal to arrive, the Steelers started to believe they could win the game when Langlais – who had assisted on the other two goals – stepped forward from his defensive position to fire them into the lead.
This Giants team has plenty of grit and determination, though, and they showed it as Peacock struck his second of the game to level matters 94 seconds into the third period and, when Phil Hill was sent to the penalty box for a high stick, Saurette scored 15 seconds into the powerplay to win the game.
"There are a lot of leaders in the room, guys have experienced this and know what it takes to win a league championship," said Peacock.
"If we are a goal down going into the third, we're not going to worry. We're going to go out there and do what we need to do and we managed to claw it back this time."