ICE HOCKEY: Belfast Giants fail to beat Sheffield Steelers

Belfast Giants Adam Keefe with Sheffield Steelers Zack Fitzgerald

Belfast Giants Adam Keefe with Sheffield Steelers Zack Fitzgerald

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The Stena Line Belfast Giants fell to a 4-1 defeat against the Sheffield Steelers in Belfast on Sunday night.

Two Steelers goals in the final minute of the first period turned the game in the favour of the visitors.

Stephen Murphy was the Giants starting netminder as Michael Forney missed out through injury.

The Giants opened the scoring at the ten minute mark while on the powerplay as Blair Riley found a wide-open Chris Higgins at the back door who slotted the puck into the Steelers net.

The visitors levelled with only 40 seconds remaining in the opening period when John Armstrong used a screen in front of the net to fire the puck home. Then, 35 seconds later the Steelers led through Yarod Hagos as his strike gave the away side a 2-1 lead after the opening 20 minutes.

The Steelers further extended their lead at the halfway point in the game as Mathieu Roy found himself alone in front of the Giants goal and his slapshot ripped into the back of the net at 30:36, assisted by Markus Nilsson.

Giants Captain Adam Keefe dropped the gloves with Zack Fitzgerald at 32:49 after the Steelers Defenceman tangled with Colin Shields in the Sheffield zone.

Following the fight, the Referee gave Keefe a double minor, major and game misconduct to put an end to the game for the Giants captain.

But Fitzgerald had got the message loud and clear.

The Giants piled the pressure on the Steelers during the final period however they were unable to find a way past Ervins Mustukovs and the away defence.

With Stephen Murphy pulled for the extra outskater, Colton Fretter netted for the Steelers at 58:49 to round off the away win.

The Giants are back in action next weekend with back-to-back away games against the Cardiff Devils and Dundee Stars on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

The Giants then return home on January 20 versus the Nottingham Panthers and on Saturday January 21 against the Dundee Stars.