Some UK media pundits stated before last weekend’s results that Sheffield and Nottingham were still in the hunt for the Elite League title. They only had to sweep their remaining Elite League fixtures with the Stena Line Belfast Giants and go on a winning run of their own.
Well the wheels tumbled off the Steelers bandwagon after a 3-1 defeat by the Giants who played championship hockey for the whole sixty minutes. Belfast’s Stephen Murphy played some inspired hockey in the Giants goal.
Stephen Murphy in action
The Steelers were riding a nine game winning streak on home ice however it was Giants that took the honors. A first period score from Daryl Lloyd made Sheffield start to chase the game. That chase became a head long rush in the second but it was Belfast’s Kevin Saurette then Evan Cheverie netting leaving the score line 3-0 Giants at the end of the second
Giants Evan Cheverie on the face-off draw
The Steelers came back in third with Rob Sirianni scoring early on. Sheffield then threw everything at the Giants trying to level the score however Murphy was playing some inspired hockey thwarting their every attempt.
Giants Stephen Muphy making another great save
Former Belfast Coach Doug Christiansen stated. “ Belfast played for the whole sixty minutes and made us chase the game harder after every they scored.
We have to learn to explode out of the cannon at the start of the game not after the third period. I’m glad we have Murphy playing for the GB team as he was outstanding tonight.” Concluded the Steelers Coach
The Giants then travelled to Edinburgh to take on an inconsistent but dangerous rival in the Capitals. Talk about exploding out of the canon as Belfast netted six goals in the opening period
The Giants were then able to coast to victory on cruise control after that.
Belfast’s Colin Shields started the Giants scoring followed by Calvin Elfring, Jeff Mason, and Dustin Whitecotton. The Capitals’ Curtis Leinweber finally registered on their score sheet that was swiftly followed by Belfast’s, Shields and Whitecotton second leaving the score-line 6-1 Belfast.
Giants Dustin Whitecotton nets his hat-trick
The Capitals got another one back through Jade Portwood in the second however the Giants Whitecotton netted for his hat trick in the third which gave time for backup goaltender Andrew Dickson to enter the game with the final score ending 7-2 Belfast.
Giants are off on another winning run now sitting on four victories in a row and an amazing seventeen points clear of their nearest rival Dundee Stars. Short of all the wheels falling off their bandwagon, one cannot see another rival in sight for the Elite League trophy. Only time will tell now?
Written by Wayne Hardman