Elite League: Belfast Giants 1-4 Sheffield Steelers

Celebrations for the Steelers as they score in Sunday's victory over the Giants
Celebrations for the Steelers as they score in Sunday's victory over the Giants

Belfast Giants suffered a blow to their Elite League title hopes after this defeat by Sheffield Steelers on Sunday.

The Giants won Saturday's game against the Yorkshire team in a SSE Arena double-header and Chris Higgins put the hosts ahead less than 24 hours later.

Sheffield hit back with first-period goals from Luke Ferrara and Ben O'Connor to move in front.

Mathieu Roy made it 3-1 in the second period and Colton Fretter sealed victory with 71 seconds left.

The Giants started the game three points behind leaders Cardiff Devils and they took the lead midway through the first period.

Hosts score opener

Higgins shot past Ervins Mustokovs as the Giants exploited a power-play after the Steelers keeper had incurred a delay of game penalty.

But the visitors then stunned the Giants with two goals in the space of 35 seconds in the last minute of the period - Ferrera scoring the equaliser and O'Connor smashing home the go-ahead goal.

The Steelers were a much stronger proposition in the second period and extended their lead when Roy slammed the puck home in the 31st minute of the match.

Tempers flared before the end of the period as Giants captain Adam Keefe fought with Sheffield's Zack Fitzgerald, the former being ejected from the game after much discussion between the officials and player.

Levi Nelson of the Sheffield Steelers closes in in Colin Shields in Sunday's game at the SSE Arena
Levi Nelson of the Sheffield Steelers closes in in Colin Shields in Sunday's game at the SSE Arena

The Giants came back strongly in the third period as they tried to get a foothold back in the match but they were caught out as they chased the game.

With Belfast keeper Stephen Murphy pulled, the Steelers applied the coup de grace, Colton Fretter with the 'empty net' goal.

The second-placed Giants are five points ahead of the Steelers in the table but Sheffield still have three games in hand.

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