Elite League: Belfast Giants hit leaders Sheffield Steelers for six

Brian Ward celebrates after making it 2-0 to the Giants against Sheffield
Brian Ward celebrates after making it 2-0 to the Giants against Sheffield

Belfast Giants beat Elite League leaders Sheffield Steelers 6-2 in the first game of a weekend doubleheader between the sides at the SSE Arena.

Liam Reddox netted twice with Brian Ward, Patrick Mullen, Ben Lake and Ryan Lowney also on target for the hosts.

Brendan Connolly and Nikolai Lemtyugov scored for Sheffield.

The victory moved the Giants into second place and they will tie the Steelers at the top if they can repeat the result on Saturday night.

The Giants' pre-game ceremonies celebrated 20 seasons of ice hockey in Belfast and the side responded from the opening drop of the puck.

With just 22 seconds into the game Reddox ripped a shot from the top of the left circle that beat Steelers netminder Tomas Duba.

Belfast forward Liam Reddox hits the Steelers net in the SSE Arena encounter
Belfast forward Liam Reddox hits the Steelers net in the SSE Arena encounter

It was a poor goal to concede from Duba's point of view but the perfect start for the Giants.

Sheffield had three powerplay opportunities and looked dangerous with the man advantage but Giants goalie Shane Owen, who was impressive throughout the game, made a string of big saves and his team mates made the Steelers pay shorthanded.

At 15:15 some excellent penalty killing from Lewis Hook set up Mark Garside's shot from the blueline that was redirected past Duba by Ward.

The home side produced arguably their best 20 minutes of the season in the second period scoring three times and dominating play.

If the first goal of the game was terrible from the Steelers goalie then Duba won't look back on Mullen's effort with any pleasure either.

The Giants defenceman picked the puck up behind his own net, skated the length of the ice before letting a harmless wrist shot go that handcuffed Duba and sneaked in the net.

Sheffield's Anthony DeLuca closes in on Giants opponent Patrick Mullen
Sheffield's Anthony DeLuca closes in on Giants opponent Patrick Mullen

Moments later Ward assisted on a one-timer from Reddox as he found space in the slot and then on the powerplay Lake rounded off a nice set-up from Ward and David Goodwin.

The Steelers eventually found a way past Owen five minutes into the final period when former Giant Connolly scored and a goal from Lemtyugov just a few minutes later closed the gap to three.

However, if there were any nerves from the Giants then Lowney's powerplay marker at 48:37 settled them as he pocketed a one timer when Duba failed to protect his near post.