Elite League: Dwyer hits double as Giants defeat Blaze to move top

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Belfast Giants beat Coventry Blaze 2-1 to go top of the Elite League table

Patrick Dwyer's double helped Belfast Giants to a 2-1 win over Coventry Blaze and a return to the top of the league.

Cardiff Devils' defeat by Sheffield Steelers saw the Giants go top by virtue of one more regulation win but the Welsh side have a game in hand.

Dwyer put the SSE Arena hosts 2-0 in front before Luke Ferrara pulled one back as the Giants completed a 24-hour double over Coventry.

Giants netminder Stephen Murphy starred with 31 saves on Saturday night.

In the absence of Tyler Beskorowany the Giants back-up was vital to victory in both games against Coventry.

After a scoreless first period in which both sides had a couple of powerplay opportunities but could do nothing with them, it was the Giants who eventually broke the deadlock with the man advantage at 24:47.

There's no way through for Coventry's Alex Nikiforuk as Stephen Murphy prepares to make the save
There's no way through for Coventry's Alex Nikiforuk as Stephen Murphy prepares to make the save

Quick puck movement between the five skaters allowed Dustin Johner and Kyle Baun to pull the Blaze netminder Matt Hackett out of position and set up Dwyer with an unguarded net to shoot at.

At the other end the Giants penalty kill was led by Murphy who made a number of big saves to keep the Blaze off the board, none more so than the stop on Kevin Morris on a clean breakaway.

The game was becoming a grind with a lot of huffing and puffing but neither side able to blow the other away.

Eventually eight minutes into the final period Dwyer got his second goal of the game, following up a turnover by Darcy Murphy.

The former NHL star dragged the puck from behind the goal line to in front of the net, waited on Hackett to commit himself before roofing the puck high over the goalie's shoulder.

A familiar scene for Giants fans as Patrick Dwyers celebrates his second goal against Coventry
A familiar scene for Giants fans as Patrick Dwyers celebrates his second goal against Coventry

The breathing space didn't last long with the Blaze getting on the scoreboard on the powerplay at 50:19 through a deflected effort from Ferrara.

However, the Giants held on for two more vital points to keep their title chances very much alive.

The victory also means are the Erhardt Conference champions, winning it for the third with their last success in 2014.

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