The Stena Line Belfast Giants defeated the Nottingham Panthers 3-1 in a thrilling game at the National Ice Centre. The win leaves the Giants 20 points clear in first place and require two wins to clinch the Elite League Championship for the first time since 2012.
The Elite League leading Stena Line Belfast Giants took up a commanding position early in this encounter – dominating the opening period to leave the hosts & reigning champions 2-0 down and facing a mountain to climb. The visitors opened the scoring with only 105 seconds gone, Evan Cheverie firing home his 12th goal and 56th point of the season after a pass from Kevin Saurette. The Giants continued to control the game and extended their lead just over seven minutes later with the impressive Chris Higgins finishing past Nottingham netminder Craig Kowalski, assisted by Colin Shields and Dustin Whitecotton at 8:49.
The Panthers came flying out of the starting blocks as the puck dropped to begin the second period and at 22:39 they got their reward with David Clarke posting his 29th goal of the season by opening the home side’s scoring, assisted by Matt Ryan, to make it a one goal game with only one period remaining.
The final period in Nottingham was end-to-end with both Belfast netminder Stephen Murphy and Nottingham goalie Craig Kowalski being called into action, however it was the Giants who would take the win for the first time in Nottingham this season with Chris Higgins sealing the 2 points with a fine finish at 55:48, assisted by Colin Shields and Robby Sandrock.
Game Over & the Stena Line Belfast Giants defeat the Nottingham Panthers 3-1! Goals from Evan Cheverie and Chris Higgins x2!!
— Belfast Giants (@BelfastGiants) February 15, 2014