Giants Stamp Title Intentions On Panthers With 4-3 Win

The Stena Line Belfast Giants came up with possibly their most important victory of the season so far on Thursday Night when they defeated the visiting Nottingham Panthers 4-3 to solidify their position at the top of the Elite League standings.

A standout performance from Craig Peacock led the charge, but it was the complete team effort at both ends of the ice that gave the Giants the edge and eventually the win.

Peacock opened the scoring 6:57 into the opening period when he fired home a loose puck to make it 1-0.  Less than a minute later Calvin Elfring found Cody Brookwell who managed to find a way past Neil Conway after a mad scramble in front of the goal to make it 2-0 less than 8 minutes into the game.

But the Panthers showed their resilience with a quick comeback scoring twice in a 3-minute period, first from Matt Ryan and then from David Clarke to tie the game after the first 20 minutes of play.

The only goal of the second period came off the stick of Craig Peacock with his 12 goal of the season, coming on the powerplay with Chris Higgins and Rob Sandrock drawing assists to put the Giants ahead 3-2 going into the third and final period.

Darryl Lloyd was binned for holding midway through the final period and the Panthers took advantage, scoring a powerplay goal of their own with Petr Kalus firing home a brilliant pass from Matt Francis to tie the game at 3 a piece with just over 7 minutes to play.

Another scramble in front of the Panthers net led to the winning goal from Kevin Saurette after a few others had a shot at it, he eventually picked up a rebound and blasted it home to make it 4-3.  The Panthers had the chance to claw back another goal but with just over two minutes remaining, Jonathan Weaver tried to slap the puck down the ice when his stick broke and Peacock was there to pick up the puck and come the other way.  Weaver was forced to take a penalty on Peacock and the Giants ran out the rest of the game on the powerplay.

A man of the match performance from Craig Peacock with two goals, with Saurette and Brookwell each picking up a goal apiece.  In net, Stephen Murphy was again spectacular, stopping 27 of the 30 shots he faced.

Next up – the Dundee Stars on Saturday Night at the Odyssey Arena, face off is 7pm.

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