The Stena Line Belfast Giants claimed a Sheffield weekend double with a 5-4 away win against the Steelers on Sunday. Sunday’s win sees the Giants take four points from a possible four following Saturday’s 5-2 defeat of the Steelers and the Giants chase for the Elite League title continues.
Two Steve Saviano goals inside 94 seconds in the final period proved to be the difference in an end-to-end clash in Sheffield Arena. Special mention must go to the large number of Giants fans who packed the away end in Sheffield and cheered on the team non-stop all weekend.
Stephen Murphy started in net for the Giants and he was called into immediate action as the Steelers set out to avenge Saturday’s home defeat, outshooting the visitors 13-10 in the opening period.
The home side took the lead at 3:57 when Luke Ferrara scored his second goal of the weekend, assisted by Hared Hagos and Jonathan Phillips.
Less than five minutes later and the Steelers had doubled their lead. This time it was Mathieu Roy who scored at 8:42, assisted by Markus Nilsson and Colton Fretter, as the hosts took control of this league game.
However the visitors showed character and responded almost immediately as Colin Shields hammered the puck past Mustukovs at 10:23. Shields’ goal came on the powerplay thanks to a inch perfect pass from behind the net by Alex Foster.
Into the middle period and with 3:02 gone, the Giants were level. Jim Vandermeer’s shot on goal deflected into the path of Blair Riley who slammed the pick into the roof of the Steelers net.
The Giants ‘go-ahead’ goal came at 28:09 and was their second powerplay strike of the game. James Desmarais skated with the puck into the Sheffield zone and held off a few Steelers to dish the puck to the back post where David Rutherford was waiting to fire home.
Levi Nelson equalised for the Steelers at 47:30 when his cool backhanded finish found the net after the puck had rebounded off one of the Giants’ skates.
The visitors were then called into penalty killing duty and Stephen Murphy stood tall in the Giants net as the team killed off Steelers powerplays.
The Giants then worked their way into the lead once again when Steve Saviano pounced on a loose puck in the Steelers zone to fire home at 51:33, assisted by James Desmarais and Colin Shields.
Only 94 seconds later and the Belfast side had extended their lead to 5-3. It was Steve Saviano again who netted for the visitors when James Desmarais unselfishly offloaded the puck for the Giants #12 to score at 53:17.
The home side piled the pressure on the Giants in a late attempt to get back into the game and, with 57 seconds to go, they were back to within one goal. Yarod Hagos bundled the puck into the Giants net with netminder Mustukovs pulled for the extra outskater.
The Steelers fourth goal set up a frantic finale, however the Giants weathered the storm in order to claim a 5-4 win and a second important win in as many nights in Sheffield.
The Giants will now take a brief break from league action when then face the Cardiff Devils on Wednesday 1st February in the 1st Leg of the Challenge Cup Semi-Final. Face-off on Wednesday in Wales is 7:30pm. Next weekend the Giants travel to Scotland for back-to-back away games against the Braehead Clan on Saturday and against the Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday.
Sheffield Steelers 4-5 Stena Line Belfast Giants
Giants Man of the Match
#12 Steve Saviano