Elite League: Belfast win to keep title hopes alive as Cardiff lose in Sheffield

David Rutherford scored a hat-trick for the Belfast Giants
David Rutherford scored a hat-trick for the Belfast Giants

Belfast Giants beat Nottingham Panthers 5-2 on Sunday to keep their title hopes alive as leaders Cardiff Devils were beaten 6-2 by Sheffield Steelers.

Cardiff's defeat leaves Belfast five points off the pace with both teams having four games left.

The Giants twice face Cardiff on the final weekend of the season so if the Devils lose one of their other games, it could open the door to Belfast.

David Rutherford's hat-trick helped the Giants earn Sunday's win.

Colin Shields and Blair Riley also found the net for the home side, who trailed 1-0 after the first period.

Jeff Brown and Dan Spang netted for the Panthers, who were beaten 7-3 by the Giants on Friday night.

Brown scored the opener, but strikes from Rutherford and Shields saw the hosts take charge by the end of the second period.

Rutherford and Riley then netted, Spang got his name on the scoresheet, before Rutherford completed his treble.

The Giants are next in action on Friday night when they play Sheffield Steelers at the SSE Arena before hosting Coventry 24 hours later.

Cardiff face Fife away and still-in-contention Sheffield at home in their next two games before the back-to-back games against the Giants.

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