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Third period show sees Belfast Giants take first game of Sheffield Steelers doubleheader

Sheffield Steelers 2-4 Belfast Giants

By Adam McKendry

Three goals in the third period saw the Belfast Giants triumph 4-2 in the first of their doubleheader with the Sheffield Steelers at the FlyDSA Arena.

Francis Beauvillier, Blair Riley and an empty netter from Darcy Murphy saw the Giants over the line, meaning they can go for another four-point weekend in tomorrow's matinee (4pm).

That's now ten straight wins in domestic competition for Adam Keefe's side as the Giants began December in the same fashion as they finished November.

In a tough opening to the game, both sides had good looks on goal as the Giants made Sheffield netminder Matt Climie work, while Josh McFadden rang the pipes at the other end on a dangerous powerplay.

But it was Belfast who took the lead at 12:20 when Blair Riley took a shot from the right circle and, although Climie made the save, he could only pad it back to the crease where David Rutherford was waiting to put it in.

The second period, however, was all Sheffield, and they deservedly tied it at 24:55 on the powerplay when the puck found its way to Robert Dowd at the top of the left circle and he fired a vicious wrister past Tyler Beskorowany.

Indeed, the Giants needed their netminder to be on top form in the second period as he was forced to make big stops from Josh Pitt and Justin Buzzeo to take the sides in level at the second intermission.

After the restart, the Giants went on the early offensive and they retook the lead at 41:46 when Jonathan Ferland set in Francis Beauvillier, and the winger roofed it past Climie after the goaltender made the initial stop.

And they doubled the lead at 49:44 on the powerplay when the Belfast first line clicked again, David Rutherford centering the pass back into the slot for Blair Riley, who finished five-hole on Climie.

But some slack play from Josh Roach allowed the Steelers back into it at 51:23, the defenseman making losing possession at the blueline on the powerplay and then hauling down Eric Neiley on the breakaway, leading to a penalty shot.

Neiley took the shot himself and finished coolly over Beskorowany's glove side, and only a couple of minutes later the Steelers nearly levelled as Pitt hit the post from the right circle with a sweet shot.

Beskorowany then made a brilliant save as Jordan Owens, Tanner Eberle and Jonathan Phillips went tic-tac-toe at the doorstep, only for the goaltender to shut the door, and that allowed Darcy Murphy to seal the victory with an empty netter at 59:49.

Man of the Match: #25 Blair Riley

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