Belfast Giants prove they're up for Challenge with double joy
The Belfast Giants have set up a Challenge Cup quarter-final meeting with Manchester Storm after back-to-back wins over the Fife Flyers saw them secure top spot in their group.
After a 3-0 win in Kirkcaldy on Saturday night, the Giants were 3-2 winners in the second leg of the weekend double-header in Belfast last night.
Mike Radja scored twice with Craig Peacock also on target, and player-coach Derrick Walser will be happy to have seen a response from his players after losing to the Cardiff Devils and Dundee Stars last weekend - albeit the second of those was in a penalty shoot-out.
With Mike Forney absent due to personal reasons taking him back to North America, the Giants lacked a finishing touch until they took the lead just 68 seconds before the end of the first period.
Brandon Benedict and Chris Higgins created the opportunity for Radja to finish.
Mike Wilson and James Desmarais set up Peacock to make it 2-0 at 22:55, before Fife mounted a comeback.
First Nicholas Rioux struck short-handed at 36:33 while Shayne Stockton sat in the penalty box.
Stockton and TJ Craig combined to set up Justin Fox for the equaliser at 49:36.
A 2-2 draw after 60 minutes would have done for the Giants, but they won the game at 52:59 when Radja netted his second.