Giants beat Sheffield twice for four-point weekend
The Belfast Giants took wins in both their Elite League games against the Sheffield Steelers to seal a four-point weekend.
The hosts may have needed overtime to get the victory on Saturday, giving Sheffield a point to take home from their trip to Belfast, but held out for the regulation win on Sunday.
The Giants also marked the return to action from injury of all-time leading scorer Colin Shields - who also became the club's most prolific player.
Saturday was his 585th game, overtaking the record set by Belfast-born player Graeme Walton.
The first encounter between the Giants and Steelers saw the hosts go two goals down in the opening period, after goals for the Steelers from John Armstrong and Anthony DeLuca.
However, captain Blair Riley started the comeback with a second period goal fired past his fomer teammate Jackson Whistle in the Steelers net.
And that was followed up with an equaliser from Kyle Baun - before the Steelers edged their way back in front again, through Jordan Owens.
David Rutherford provided another equaliser for Belfast in the third period, before Riley ripped the puck into the net to score the Giants’ fourth goal of the night and put them in front for the first time.
But late drama saw the Steelers pull Whistle for the extra skater, only for Robert Dowd to score and level the game with only 73 seconds left on the clock.
In overtime, Patrick Dwyer’s decisive goal came with less than two minutes to spare and the home fans erupted in delight as the Giants secured the extra point.
Turning to Sunday’s game, and there was more drama on the cards.
The Giants drew first blood with a first period powerplay goal from Patrick Dwyer – who would go on to bag himself a hat-trick.
The sides then battled out a second period in which neither side could find a way to score.
But the third period then saw the Steelers equalise with a powerplay goal of their own, from Evan McGrath.
And things went from bad to worse for the home side, when Sheffield then produced a short-handed goal from John Armstrong – leaving the Giants trailing 2-1 with less than 10 minutes to go.
Dwyer rounded out his hat-trick though with his second and third goals of the game, scored just over 30 seconds apart.
Darcy Murphy made it 4-2 to the Giants with just over two minutes to go.
And, for a suitably tense finish, Sheffield pulled their netminder Matt Climie for the extra skater and grabbed a powerplay goal through Jonas Westerling.
But the Giants held out and took the 4-3 win and the maximum four points for the weekend.
Adam Keefe’s team are next in action when Belfast hosts a big European final on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the SSE Arena.
The Giants take on Belarus side HK Gomel, Poland’s GKS Katowice, and Arlan Kokshetau of Kazakhstan in the Continental Cup.