Belfast Giants are keeping Cardiff Devils under pressure in the race to be crowned Elite League ice hockey champions.
Head coach Adam Keefe and his Giants won 4-1 against Coventry Blaze at the SSE Arena on Friday and moved to within two points of leaders Devils with six fixtures to play.
Belfast play Blaze at home again on Saturday, while Cardiff travel to play Sheffield Steelers in South Yorkshire before returning to South Wales for a home clash with Glasgow Clan the following evening.
A pair of late empty net goals gave Giants’ win a little more gloss than the game perhaps justified, but they were nonetheless victorious over Coventry.
Having already been caught out once turning the puck over in the attacking zone, Coventry were made to pay the next time as Blair Riley raced away shorthanded to and beat Matt Hackett five-hole to put Giants ahead with 14-19 gone in the game.
That lead was doubled 16 seconds from the end of the opening period when Kyle Baun’s hard work forced a turnover which Darcy Murphy fired home to make it 2-0.
Coventry were deservedly back in the game early in period two when Ross Venus scored past Stephen Murphy in goal.
That was how things stayed until late in the game. Blaze their netminder for an extra skater and Belfast netted twice into an empty net with Jordan Smotherman (59-16) and Kyle Baun (59-57) the scorers.
In the only other Elite League match played on Friday, Dundee Stars won 5-1 against Glasgow Clan.
Head coach Lord and his Devils team now face Steelers away on Saturday before facing Glasgow at the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay on Sunday.
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Remaining 7 Elite League fixtures
Three home, four away
Saturday 16 v Sheffield Steelers (away, 7pm)
Sunday 17 v Glasgow Clan (home, 6pm)
Wednesday 20 v Glasgow Clan (away, 7.30pm)
Saturday 23 v Manchester Storm (home, 7pm)
Sunday 24 v Dundee Stars (away, 5pm)
Saturday 30 v MK Lightning (home, 7pm)
Sunday 31 v Coventry Blaze (away, 5.15pm)
6 fixtures left, four home, two away
Saturday 16 v Coventry Blaze (home, 7pm)
Friday 22 v Manchester Storm (away, 7pm)
Sunday 24 v Sheffield Steelers (home, 4pm)
Wednesday 27 v Coventry Blaze (away, 7.30pm)
Friday 29 v Fife Flyers (home, 7pm)
Saturday 30 v Dundee Stars (home, 7pm)