Whitecotton scores winner as Belfast Giants beat Braehead Clan

Giants' Dustin Whitecotton
Giants' Dustin Whitecotton

The Belfast Giants maintained their 17 point lead at the top of the Elite League after a hard fought 2-1 overtime win at the Braehead Clan on Saturday night.

Dustin Whitecotton was the hero scoring his 15th goal of the season with 1:33 left in the five-minute sudden death period as Paul Adey’s side recorded their 14th win from their last 15 games.

Ash Goldie had given the Scottish side the lead at 17:06 in the first period when his backhand shot beat Stephen Murphy but the Giants weren’t behind for long as Whitecotton and Colin Shields combined to set up Jeffrey Szwez who equalised at 18:44, beating the Clan’s Kyle Jones for his 23rd goal of the campaign.

The last time the two sides met they were involved in an 11 goal thriller but both netminders combined to keep the forwards quiet for the rest of regulation.

With a point secured it was Whitecotton who ended the game, latching on to a turnover by former Giant Matt Towe, and skating in alone to beat Jones and notch another road victory for the Giants.

“It was a really tough game, Braehead came out flying and it took a while for us to get going and in the end we were happy to get the two points,” said Giants forward Kevin Saurette.

“When a game goes to overtime you never know what can happen but we got the break and were happy to come away with another win

“It’s fun right now for us, we have a lot of confidence and everyone is playing great. We’ve been lucky with injuries so far and we’re just trying to be consistent every night.

“It doesn’t matter which team we are facing, we are going to play the same way and its up to other teams to come at us and see if they can beat us.”

The Dundee Stars and Sheffield Steelers share second place but are a long way behind with just 16 games remaining in the regular season.

Ahead of a big home doubleheader against the Steelers this weekend the Giants take on the Cardiff Devils tomorrow night in the first leg of the Challenge Cup semi-final at the Odyssey Arena.

It’s a trophy the Giants have only ever won once and despite having a lot of recent success against the Welsh side, Saurette knows that this is an opportunity for a bright moment in an otherwise disappointing season for Cardiff.

“This is obviously another trophy for us to shoot for. I think we’ll go about the game the same way as we always do,” he said.

“We’ve had some success against Cardiff this season but they’ve made a few changes since we last faced them. This is their championship to chase, I guess, so I expect a hard game.”