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|Playoff Group B|
27th March 2005
|Referee: A Carson|
|Match complete||Belfast Giants|
|0 : 2 : 2 = 4||Goals||1 : 0 : 1 = 2|
|7 : 12 : 7 = 26||Shots||10 : 10 : 6 = 26|
|10 : 6 : 0 = 16||Penalties in Minutes||6 : 6 : 48 = 60|
Sheffield Steelers 4-2 Belfast Giants
Sheffield missing Gavin Farrand, Belfast at full strength.
This result means that if Sheffield win either game in Belfast this week they and Cardiff will qualify for the play-off finals.
3147 noisy fans saw an amazing finale as 3 goals arrived in the final 6 minutes of this game, as Sheffield's Jeff Christian turned villain then hero. Sheffield enjoyed two spells of 5-on-3, lost goalie Jayme Platt to an injury in the middle session. Giants player coach Tony Hand earned a misconduct after Sheffield bagged their third goal and a game misconduct after the final whistle.
Giants trailed 2-1 with less than 8 minutes remaining when George Awada took a roughing penalty off the play. But Steelers failed to test the outstanding Martin Klempa and when Christian played a long pass along the halfway line, Hand intercepted and raced away to the net, slamming on the brakes and playing the puck inside for Frederik Nasvall to squeeze the puck past back-up goalie Davey Lawrence (54:01).
71 seconds later Mel Angelstadt took a holding penalty and another 73 seconds saw Shane Johnson take a 2+10 checking from behind penalty for a challenge on Gerad Adams. That gave the home side 47 seconds of 5-on-3 play. Klempa failed to hold Dave Cousineau's rasping drive from the right wing, and Christian stepped up to net high (56:46) 21 seconds into that two man advantage.
Hand exited the game at this point with a 10 minute misconduct penalty for comments to the referee.
Inside the final minute another Angelstadt minor put Sheffield on the powerplay once more, but Belfast lifted Klempa for 5-on-5 with 40 seconds left and Christian hit the empty net from 12 feet with 2 seconds left in the game.
Giants created the better chances in the opening period and it was no surprise when they went ahead. Roman Gavalier's long pass sent Curtis Huppe skating clear and he shot home through Platt's legs (10:16). just 25 seconds later Cousineau and Curtis Bowen clashed at the Sheffield net and the Steeler took 3 minors to Bowen's 2, putting Giants on a powerplay. But Giants failed to test Platt.
Klempa made a superb stop from Christian's left wing shot which he could have only seen very late. But the best chance fell to Mark Dutiaume who got away down the left, went across the doorstep but only found Klempa's pads.
Sheffield started the second period killing a 4 minute powerplay as Mike Peron took a high sticks penalty and Giants exerted severe pressure on the home net. Platt made a good double save, padding away Hand's shot and blanking Nasvall's first-timer on the rebound. But he went down hurt just 2 minutes later.
A minute later Tony Hand rang the near post from the right wing and two minutes later was blanked again from the right. At the next stoppage Platt, clearly in pain, was replaced by GB U20 goalie Davey Lawrence, but Giants failed to put him under any pressure.
Instead Peron tied the game (27:19) from low on the left after Klempa had blanked Ron Shudra's right wing shot.
Belfast went 5-on-3 after Dion Darling joined Daryl Andrews on the penalty bench (both roughing) but again Giants failed to test Lawrence as the home side blocked every shot they tried.
The home side really should have taken the lead in the 38th minute, as first Erik Anderson failed to connect with Christian's bullet pass across the doorstep, then Christian blasted wide with Klempa on the floor. However Belfast gave the home side a big assist when Jason Bowen and Hand took roughing and high sticks penalties at 37:46. for a full two minutes of 5-on-3. Steelers didn't let the chance slip and Cousineau netted at the back door (39:12) with Steelers' first shot on target in that powerplay.
Six minutes into the final session Dutiaume pulled a repeat of his breakaway in the opening period but Klempa again made the stop.
Curtis Huppe blasted a glorious chance wide from 10 feet, then Hand got away down the right only to fire wide nearside. And when Awada kicked the puck off the backboards straight to Nasvall at Lawrence's right post he seemed certain to score, but Darling had other ideas and put the Swede on his backside.
Hand tied the game but then Giants threw it all away through indiscipline.
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