Sheffield Steelers’ festive season dip continued last night as they slipped off the top of the league.
They were 2-0 up at Belfast before succumbing to a 5-3 loss. Braehead, who beat Fife 4-3, took Sheffield’s place at the summit.
Steelers had profited from the game’s first power play, Dustin Kohn score from the point in the second minute. Two minutes later the game overheated with a fight involving Adam Keefe and Danny Bois, both earning a 2+5 penalty.
It was a spikey affair, with both sides taking the body. But as hard as they come, opposing teams can struggle with Steelers’ speed and at 11:07 Jonathan Phillips nipped around his marker, short-handed, to knock a second past Carsen Chubak.
Frank Doyle gave Steelers another boost when he saved a penalty shot from Craig Peacock at 12;03.
But when Jason Hewitt - who was back after knee injury - took a tripping penalty, Giants special team came up with a goal of their own at 29;34. It was despatched by Evan Cheverie, who scored a game-winning penalty against Sheffield in November.
Giants then had a 5 on 3 penalty for 1:29, but Doyle kept them at bay, earning a rousing reception from the travelling fans.
But their enthusiasm was curbed when Cody Brookwell slammed home an equaliser at 38;50 - to put the seal on a period where they had twice as many shots as the visitors and half as many penalty minutes.
The trend continued. Phillips took a minor and Calvin Elfring, who earlier had come to blows with Colton Fretter, put Giants ahead for the first time (48;10.)
Mark Thomas took another penalty and Robby Sandrock scored from the blue line. But Steelers were not out of it and Ben O’Connor gave hope with a goal at 54;20.
Doyle was pulled for the extra skater, but it backfired with Craig Peacock scoring Giants fifth with 22 seconds remaining.