Elite League: Belfast Giants fall short against Cardiff Devils
Cardiff Devils beat the Belfast Giants for the third time this season to maintain their Elite League title push with a 4-2 win at the SSE Arena.
Masi Marjamaki and Stephen Dixon put the visitors into a commanding lead by the midway point of the game.
Bobby Farnham pulled one back for the Giants but Sam Jardine restored the Devils' two-goal advantage.
Former Giant Blair Riley capped off the win after Curtis Hamilton's effort briefly gave Adam Keefe's men hope.
This match-up between the sides lying second and third in the table came just three days after the Devils had eliminated the Giants from the Challenge Cup at the quarter-final stage.
The Giants were on the defensive from as early as nine seconds into the contest after a penalty called for an illegal line-up, where the team on the ice didn't match that declared on the pre-match teamsheets.
They weathered that two minutes without conceding but were then powerless to stop Cardiff's Finnish forward Marjamaki slamming home the opener.
The Devils doubled their advantage with a smart unassisted goal from Dixon, lifting the puck high into the net eight minutes into the second period.
The Giants then failed to take advantage of a 5-on-3 opportunity in the final minutes of the period and went into the last twenty minutes with a two-goal deficit to overcome and scoreless against the Devils in eight consecutive periods of hockey between the two sides.
Bobby Farnham pulled back a goal for the home team early in the third period to end the drought, firing home from an acute angle past Ben Bowns.
But the Devils soon restored their two-goal advantage as Jardine drilled in at the back post.
Hamilton buried a wrist shot into the bottom corner with five minutes to go to set up an exciting finale before former Giants' captain Blair Riley scored an empty netter to secure the win for the visitors.