Giants beat Panthers in top two Elite League clash

The Belfast Giants beat Nottingham Panthers 2-1 in a tense top two clash at the Odyssey Arena on Saturday night.

The result means Doug Christiansen's men extend their lead at the top of the Elite League to three points.

Giants forward Beniot Doucet got the breakthrough score with 4.14 left on the clock in the first period.

Jordan Fox had the visitors back on level terms early in the second period but Belfast netted the winner through Craig Peacock.

It was a big win for the Giants against one of their main rivals for the league crown.

Nottingham had looked menacing in the opening minutes and Stephen Murphy of the Giants was the busier netminder.

However, Belfast finished the period the stronger with a stretched Nottingham committing a series of penalties.

The Giants finally took advantage of their extra man on the ice with 4.14 left in the period, forward Doucet firing home with low drilled shot.

The home team were caught cold early in the second period as Panthers forward Jordan Fox restored parity just two and a half minutes after the restart.

The Giants were then forced to defend during three powerplays but emerged unscathed.

With three minutes and 23 seconds left in the period, a furious scramble in front of Craig Kowalski's goal ended with Craig Peacock forcing the puck in to restore Belfast's lead heading into the final period.

No quarter was being given in a hard, brutal battle between the top two sides in the league.

In the final period netminder Murphy saved everything the Panthers could fire at him.