Ice Hockey: Giants 4 Steelers 3 (Sun) Giants 4 Steelers 2 (Sat)

Dustin Kohn scored for Steelers on Sunday against Belfast. Pic: Dean Woolley.
Dustin Kohn scored for Steelers on Sunday against Belfast. Pic: Dean Woolley.
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When Belfast Giants look back over their eventual Championship-winning season, they can reflect with no little pride on their sequence of wins over Steelers, one of the teams who had expectations themselves of lifting the Elite League title.

Sunday night was the sixth time Belfast had beaten Sheffield out of seven, so far, this season.

While matches between the two are routinely well-matched, close affairs, Giants clearly have what it takes to get them over the finishing line first.

This morning, they are a full 19 points ahead of Sheffield.

It seems that first-year Steelers coach Doug Christiansen’s recruitment programme, which on Saturday morning included Cardiff Devils’ wing Chris Blight, will not be enough to match the club he left in his wake to go to Sheffield.

Last night, like on the previous evening, Steelers were not able to settle early into their stride, David Phillips converting after 35 seconds.

And recent history repeated itself when Sheffield levelled, Jeff Legue scoring on the Power Play. But when Nate DiCasmirro was penalised for hooking, Craig Peacock roofed the puck for 2-1 at 17:51.

Defenceman Dustin Kohn roamed forward to breathe new life into Steelers for 2-2 on 20:49, converting after approach work from fellow blue-liner Chad Langlais.

And it was Langlais that put Sheffield ahead, for the first and only time, at 35:49, although that was cancelled out by Peacock’s second of the night, at 41:34.

And Giants wrestled control of the game back with a marker from veteran forward Kevin Saurette, while Steve Goertzen sat a roughing minor. It was enough to guarantee maximum points.

* On Saturday, Sheffield lasted all of 13 seconds before they conceded, Canadian right wing Jeffery Szwez beating Frank Doyle in the first shift.

Not all was lost though, at 1:42 Jonathan Phillips equalised and Steelers had a chance to impose themselves.

But Szwez, who last summer re-joined Giants after three seasons in Europe, was on target again at 14:40.

Sheffield competed hard but struggled to get the better of man of the match Stephen Murphy.

And the Irish wrapped the game up with Adam Keefe netting and Szwez claiming his hat-trick.

Robert Dowd scored a consolation on the powerplay but they went down despite heavily outshooting Giants.

* Steelers next match is at Nottingham Panthers on Saturday, followed by a home date with Coventry Blaze.