- Belfast Giants 6 - 4 Nottingham Panthers
The Belfast Giants beat the Nottingham Panthers for a second night running when Sébastien Sylvestre scored the game winner with just 22 seconds to spare.
The sides had been locked at 4-4 late in the third period when Sylvestre struck – and John Kurtz sealed the 6-4 victory with an empty-net goal.
The result means the Giants shore up second place in the Elite League standings, cutting the Cardiff Devils’ lead at the top to just three points.
Adam Keefe’s side followed up Friday night’s 5-2 home win against the Panthers, by taking the early lead over the visitors at the SSE Arena on Saturday.
It took Jonathan Ferland just 14 seconds to open the scoring.
Mid-way through the first period, Spiro Goulakos slammed the puck past Michael Garnett in the Nottingham net to double the Giants’ lead.
The Panthers clawed a goal back though, courtesy of Eric Lindhagen, before Sylvestre scored to restore the hosts’ two-goal cushion heading into the first break.
The second period saw the Panthers really get back in the game, with goals from Steve Lee and Mark Derlago to bring the sides level again at 3-3.
Giants captain Blair Riley struck on the powerplay, assisted by Sylvestre and David Rutherford, to put his side back in front – but the Panthers found a reply through Jeff Brown to make it 4-4.
With a big third period required, Giants netminder Jackson Whistle certainly stepped up, denying the Panthers a penalty shot.
But it was only in those dying seconds of the game that the home side were able to push on for the win and the crucial two points.
Brendan Connolly put in some excellent work, before providing Sylvestre with the perfect opportunity to tip the puck home for that vital goal.
With a four-point weekend in the bag, the Belfast Giants are back in action with another home double-header next Friday and Saturday.
They take on the Coventry Blaze, with face-off at the SSE Arena again at 7pm for both games.