SHEFFIELD STEELERS 6 BELFAST GIANTS 1
The Stena Line Belfast Giants fell to a 6-1 defeat in Sheffield on Saturday night thanks to a dominant performance by the Steelers in the opening two periods.
The visitors began the game without Johan Ejdepalm and Chris Higgins who missed out through injury as well as Derrick Walser who was serving the first of his two game suspension.
Trailing 3-0 after the first period and 5-0 after 40 minutes left the Giants with a mountain to climb and effectively gave the Steelers the two Elite League points and ended the visitors seven game winning streak.
The Steelers did damage early on in this game with two quick goals from Mathieu Roy (2:38) and Jeff Legue (4:10) - with the home side rarely looking back from then. The visitors did regroup and began to put pressure on Tyler Plante in the Steelers goal, however Fredrik Vestberg made it 3-0 at 14:36 to give the hosts a commanding lead after the first period.
Unfortunately for the Giants, the second period was much the same as the first and it was Ben O’Connor who extended the Steelers lead to 4-0 at 24:22 after being given time and space to fire home a snapshot past Stephen Murphy. Little over five minutes later it was 5-0 as Mathieu Roy scored his second of the night at 29:40. At 38:19, the Giants were handed a lifeline when referee Dean Smith awarded a penalty shot when Darryl Lloyd was dragged back when one-on-one with Tyler Plante - however the Giants forward could not find a way past the in form netminder and the Steelers led 5-0 after two periods.
Andrew Dickson replaced Stephen Murphy in the Giants goal for the beginning of the third period and the Ballymoney man turned away eight of the nine shots he faced - with Colton Fretter’s fine individual effort the lone Steelers goal in the final period, at 57:31. Before then, Craig Peacock scored the Giants only goal of the night, coming at 51:34 while on the powerplay and assisted by Mitch Ganzak and James Desmarais.
Sunday sees both teams face-off again for the second time in as many nights in Sheffield at 5pm with the Giants hoping take first place in the Elite League standings with a win.