Elite League play-offs: Belfast Giants 4-2 Fife Flyers

Giants forward Steve Saviano goes through on the Flyers goal in the first leg on Saturday night
Giants forward Steve Saviano goes through on the Flyers goal in the first leg on Saturday night

Belfast Giants go into the play-offs quarter-final second leg against Fife on Sunday with a two-goal advantage after this victory at the SSE Arena.

Sebastien Thinel gave the Scottish visitors a first-period lead on Saturday night but Belfast hit back with three goals in the second period.

Steve Saviano, Chris Higgins and Derrick Walser netted for the Giants.

Chase Schaber pulled one back early in the final period before Walser fired in the fourth goal for the hosts.

Fife took the initiative in a closely fought first period which saw both netminders kept busy.

The decisive moment came in the 16th minute when Giants defenceman Ryan Martinelli was caught in possession by Thinel, who was able to race clear through on goal and slotted past Stephen Murphy.

David Rutherford moves clear of Fife's Sebastien Thinel in the SSE Arena encounter
David Rutherford moves clear of Fife's Sebastien Thinel in the SSE Arena encounter

The Giants turned the tie around midway through the second period, scoring twice in the space of 48 seconds.

Saviano equalised on a power play and Higgins gave the home side the lead with his 29th goal of the season.

Player-coach Walser then fired through a crowd of players five minutes later to extend Belfast's lead to 3-1.

Fife reduced the deficit to one goal courtesy of Schaber five minutes into the final period.

But Walser was the Giants' hero on the night as he scored for the second time with another fine shot with just two minutes to go.

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