Final score in narrow defeat for Steelers: Sheffield 2-4 Belfast Giants
Belfast Giants underlined their current supremacy over Sheffield Steelers and the rest of the EIHL on Saturday night.
But it was a tight contest and one of the best games the Arena has witnessed for a long time.
The leagtue leading Irish won 4-2 on the first of back-to-back games at Sheffield, with an empty net goal ensuring the two points.
All-conquering Belfast had started the night three points clear at the top of the Elite League, with nine straight wins under their belt.
Steelers have been having it good too - with seven wins from eight.
But with 12 points and four places separating the pair, it was vital that Steelers got the two points if they are to be serious contenders for a place among the top guns of the division.
Yet it didn't work out that way.
Their first clash of the season started with a goal for the visitors, David Rutherford scoring at 12.20.
But with Francis Beauvillier sitting out a tripping call, Steelers levelled.
Robert Dowd let a power play wrist shot go, after work from Josh Pitt and Josh McFadden and suddenly it was 1-1, to set the home crowd buzzing.
Ex-Giant Ryan Martinelli and current Belfast skater Kendall McFaull had a roughing dust-up before the second period elapsed.
The final period saw Giants claw an advantage Beauvillier making it 1-2, at the second attempt 106 seconds into the session.
Giants extended their lead to 301 via Blair Riley at 49;44.
But a penalty shot was buried, top shelf, by Eric Neiley at 51;23 for 2-3.
Could Steelers come back?
Josh Pitt hit the post as Sheffield poured forward.
Coach Tom Barrasso called a Time Out to re-group forces with two minutes remaining.
But with 11 seconds remaining and with Matt Climie pulled from goal, Giants scored an empty netter from Darcy Murphy.
(Attendance: 6,906 )