Elite League: Belfast Giants' title hopes hit as they lose 9-5 against Fife

Chris Higgins (left) and Blair Riley
Blair Riley (right) hit two goals in Fife but they couldn't prevent Belfast from slipping to defeat

Belfast Giants' Elite League hopes suffered a blow as they were beaten 9-5 by Fife Flyers to drop three points behind leaders Cardiff Devils.

The Giants moved top of the table after beating Dundee Stars on Friday but Cardiff are now three points clear after wins on Saturday and Sunday.

Belfast fought back from 4-1 down to lead only for Fife to regain control.

Blair Riley [two], David Rutherford, Michael Quesnele and Colin Shields hit Belfast's goals.

Rutherford's first-period goal cancelled out a Brendan Brooks strike but Justin Fox, Chase Schaber and Ryan Dingle netted for the home side to put them 4-1 up early in the second period.

Quesnele, Riley and Shields replied to level the contest by the end of the second period and Riley's second goal put Belfast ahead two minutes into the final period.

However, five unanswered goals in the closing 16 minutes saw Fife take victory.

Dingle's second goal tied the contest at 5-5 and Philippe Paquet, Brooks, Russ Moyer and Schaber completed the scoring.

After beating Coventry 6-3 away on Saturday to move back top, Cardiff defeated Nottingham Panthers 3-0 on Sunday.

Cardiff also have a game in hand on the Giants, who will face the Devils in vital back-to-back games at the SSE Arena on Friday and Saturday evenings.

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