As Belfast Giants reflect on an incredible weekend that ended with them crowned as the champions of the Elite League, here are the five key games that helped to make their title dreams possible.
Sunday 11 November: Cardiff Devils 1 Belfast Giants 8
If ever there was a game that fired a shot across the bow, it was this one as the Giants’ statement of intent was clear in this shellacking of the Devils at the Viola Arena.
A five-star and a five-point performance from Kyle Baun saw Belfast run away with this one, running in four powerplay goals and three scored in the opening five minutes of the third to inflict a crushing loss on Cardiff.
WATCH: Belfast Giants smash Cardiff in eight-goal rout
Sunday 25 November: Guildford Flames 1 Belfast Giants 4
After a testing Continental Cup semi final group the week before, Giants completed their first weekend back in domestic action with a good 4-1 road win over the Flames to follow on from a victory in Coventry the night before.
Add to that the fact that Cardiff suffered a surprise 3-2 home loss to bottom of the table Milton Keynes Lightning and we were seeing the embryonic stages of what turned into an epic title scrap.
WATCH: Giants take points from Guildford
Sunday 30 December: Belfast Giants 2 Dundee Stars 3
Probably the one result that gave the Giants an almighty boot up the bum as they went on to remain unbeaten at home in the league for the rest of the season.
Dustin Johner and Darcy Murphy put them two up inside the opening ten minutes, but Dundee clawed their back to win the game and stun Adam Keefe and his team. Now, 20 games and counting…
WATCH: Stars stun Giants in post Christmas surprise
Saturday 23 February: Belfast Giants 2 Cardiff Devils 1 (OT)
Before their double header with the Devils at home, Giants were three points behind and chasing Cardiff and after winning 4-2 the night before, both teams went at it again with a point separating them.
Blair Riley’s third period goal was cancelled out by Joey Martin shortly after, the game needed Curtis Leonard to step in and he delivered in dramatic fashion.
WATCH: Enter Curtis Leonard…
Sunday 24 March: Dundee Stars 3 Cardiff Devils 1
Just when they thought they were out, Dundee Stars pulled them back in to deliver a massive blow to the Devils hopes of a “three-peat”. Giants lost 5-2 at Manchester Storm on the Friday and their hopes looked ropey.
However, there was a twist in the tale as Stars helped them out big time with a 3-1 win, catching Cardiff on an off-night to ensure the title race would head into a thrilling final weekend finale. Which it proved to be.
WATCH: Devils loss pulls Belfast back into title contention