Shields bags a terrific treble as ruthless Giants flex muscles
Fife Flyers 4 Belfast Giants 8
Adam Keefe gave Belfast Giants fans a glimpse into the future by handing ice time to local hopefuls Adam Robinson and Ross Hancock in a convincing 8-4 victory over the Fife Flyers at the Fife Ice Arena.
It was veteran forward Colin Shields, however, who led the way with a hat-trick as the Giants moved to within five points of Manchester Storm in second place in the Elite League with five games to go.
Missing six players through injury, head coach Keefe even made a rare appearance as he dressed for the game himself.
Keefe's appearance took his total of regular season games for the Giants to 300, while for Robinson it was the fifth time his name had appeared on a game sheet this season and only the second for Hancock.
The Giants scored after only 18 seconds, went 4-0 up by the end of the first period and stretched the lead to five before Fife got off the mark.
Even then Shields scored twice more, either side of a finish from Spiro Goulakos to secure a comfortable victory.
There was no sign a ferry trip and road journey from one side of Scotland to the other had an adverse impact on the Giants when they scored on the first shift, captain Blair Riley providing the finish to Brendan Connolly and Darcy Murphy's build-up work.
Keefe was called for a slashing offence after 10 minutes, but that didn't harm the Giants either as Murphy netted short-handed within 14 seconds.
Riley turned provider when Steve Saviano netted the third at 15:34 and Murphy got his second at 18:15 after defenceman Jeff Mason moved through the zones.
Shields bagged the first of his treble at 21:38.
Fife then got a foothold in the game when Charlie Mosey netted right on the 25-minute mark and 84 seconds later Can Correale had cut the Giants' lead to 5-2.
Shields scored his second on a powerplay at 28:42 and Goulakos hit the Giants' seventh at 35:57.
The sixth goal of the second period came when Fife made it 7-3 through Peter LeBlanc 12 seconds before the break.
The Giants scored eight for the second time this season when Shields completed his hat-trick at 49:44, and Fife ended the scoring with two and a half minutes to go when Danick Gauthier found the twine from Liam Heelis' assist.