The Belfast Giants went to the top of the Elite League with two impressive victories over the weekend.
On Saturday they made sure there would be no winning return to the Odyssey Arena for former coach Doug Christiansen as they defeated the Sheffield Steelers 4-2 and they followed that up by coming from behind twice to beat the Coventry Blaze 7-4 on the road on Sunday night.
The hype before the game with Sheffield was all about the return of Christiansen six months after he walked out on the Giants to take up the coaching duties with the Steelers but it was a player, making his comeback with the home team, that would steal the headlines.
After returning from Denmark last week, it took just 54 seconds for Craig Peacock to make an immediate impact by opening the scoring.
It took until the second period at 26:03 for the Giants to double their lead when Jeffrey Szwez scored on the powerplay.
There were a flurry of goals in the final twenty minutes as Jeff Legue knocked home a rebound to put the Steelers back into the game but the Giants immediately responded when Adam Keefe scored his sixth of the season.
Former Giant, Robert Dowd, blasted the goal of the game past Giants netminder Stephen Murphy at 46:46 to set up a grandstand finish but after enjoying a little luck in front of their own goal it was Dustin Whitecotton who secured an enjoyable win in front of a crowd of 4,500 by scoring the empty netter.
Earlier in the season the Blaze had shutout the Giants at the Odyssey but there was no stopping the offensive firepower at the Skydome last night although it did take four unanswered goals in the final fourteen minutes to come from behind and take the points.
In fact strikes from Kevin Harvey and Adam Henrich had the Blaze 2-0 up after only 3:23 of the game but a second goal in two nights for Peacock at 6:20 steadied the ship at the first intermission.
Harvey’s second of the night at 31:35 stretched the lead again but it only lasted sixteen seconds as Giants defenceman Cody Brookwell blasted the puck home for his first goal for his new team.
Ninety seconds after that Szwez tied the game at 3-3 heading into the third period.
Once again however the Giants found themselves behind when Ross Venus put the Blaze in front at 44:41.
But defensive tandem Rob Sandrock and Jeff Mason would then turn the game finally in the Giants favour with Sandrock levelling the score and Mason getting what would become the game winning goal at 49:35.
Kevin Saurette continued his hot start to the season with an insurance strike at 58:17 and with the Blaze pulling their goaltender in search of a miracle, Szwez sealed the win with the empty netter.
The week ahead sees the Giants travel to Cardiff for the third time this season on Thursday night having already won in the Welsh capital twice followed by a road date in Sheffield next Sunday.