Published Friday, 16 March 2012
Belfast Giants win the Elite League (© Michael Cooper.)
Doug Christiansen's side won 5-1 on Friday night to secure the title for the first time since 2006 - and for the first time ever in front of a home crowd.
Extra seating was put in place at the Odyssey to bring the total capacity up to 7,000, as crowds packed into the arena to cheer on the home side.
The league leading Giants went into the match knowing they only had to win one game of this weekend's double header against the Steelers to pip the closest chasers to title glory.
The one thing that this team has is heart. You see it every single night; you saw it all year. You saw it on the road; you saw it at practice... I'm very fortunate to have been able to have been a part of it. Thrilled.
Giants coach Doug Christiansen
They got off to a great start when Robert Dowd opened the scoring five minutes in, and Jon Pelle added a second less than a minute later with an assist from Mike Hoffman.
Jeff Legue pulled one back for the visitors just before the end of the first period giving the Belfast team just the slenderest of leads going into the second.
However Aaron Clarke added their third goal when he tapped in on the power play on 33 minutes, before two more from Paul Deniset and Jeremy Rebek secured a comprehensive 5-1 victory for the Giants and brought the league title to Belfast for the first time in six years.
The newly crowned champions took their current unbeaten league run to 15 games with this crucial win, and champagne was flowing on the Odyssey ice at the end of the night.
© UTV News