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Giants show their mettle to earn points in 10-goal thriller



Saver: Jackson Whistle made a vital penalty stop for Giants

Saver: Jackson Whistle made a vital penalty stop for Giants

©William Cherry / Presseye

Saver: Jackson Whistle made a vital penalty stop for Giants

Many qualities are needed to win league titles.

Character, guts and determination rank high on the list and the good news for Belfast Giants fans is that their team possesses all three in abundance.

When you let a 3-1 lead slip and then end up level again after going 4-3 ahead you could be forgiven for thinking that it's not going to be your night.

This Belfast Giants team doesn't think like that though. Instead, when things aren't going their way they fight even harder and on Saturday night their character, guts and determination shone through as they completed a 6-4 win over the Nottingham Panthers to keep the heat on the Cardiff Devils at the top of the Elite League table.

The finale was one of the most thrilling and dramatic in over 17 years of ice hockey in Belfast.

At 4-4, Raphael Bussieres' penalty shot was saved by Jackson Whistle and with the game 22 seconds away from going into overtime Sylvestre finished after some great skating by Brendan Connolly bamboozled the Panthers defence to make it 5-4 to the Giants.

Kurtz's empty-netter eight seconds after play restarted put the seal on the dramatic win.

Giants coach Adam Keefe said: "Credit to the Nottingham Panthers, they're a good hockey team. They put us under a lot of pressure.

"They were relentless on their forecheck. Their speed and their mobility on the backhand, they created a lot of problems for us in the D-zone.

"The guys stuck with it even though we gave up two leads and going into the third period we asked for 20 minutes of solid effort and I thought in the third period we were the better team."

He added: "It was just a matter of time before we got that one. Jackson Whistle stepped up and made a huge save on that penalty shot and that allows us to come back and get the go-ahead goal and win the game."

Belfast Telegraph