Belfast Giants Storm into Challenge Cup semi-finals after Alex Foster scores game-winning goal with just eight seconds on the clock
Belfast Giants produced an impressive comeback over the Manchester Storm on Tuesday night to advance to the Challenge Cup semi-finals.
The Giants and Storm were tied at 3-3 following last week’s Quarter Final first leg in Manchester. Stephen Murphy got the start in the Giants net with Ryan Martinelli the scratch for the home side in this Cup Quarter Final game.
The Giants had the better of the opening exchanges, however it was the visitors who took the lead. The Manchester Storm broke away from their zone and it was Connor Varley who applied the finish to open the scoring at 6:00. 1:43 later and it was 2-0, this time Taylor Dickin netted for the Storm as they extended their lead to 5-3 in the tie.
Steve Saviano brought the home side back to within one of their opponents when he finished well from a James Desmarais pass from behind the net at 11:26. However just over two minutes later and the Storm had regained their two goal advantage as Cody Cartier scored on the rebound at 13:42.
There was a moment of controversy at the end of the first period when the referee handed Michael Forney a 2+2 Roughing Penalty as well as a 5+Game Misconduct Penalty for Fighting at 15:40.
The second period was end-to-end action however both netminders ensured that the scores remain the same after 40 minutes. One moment of note during the middle period was Matt Towe dropping the gloves with Connor Varley with the Giant taking down the Manchester player at 35:30.
With only 14 seconds gone of the final period, Chris Higgins netted the Giants second of the night after David Rutherford skated with speed down the wing and dished the puck to Higgins at the back door.
Then, at 48:58, the Stena Line Belfast Giants drew level. Chris Higgins skated with the puck from the Giants zone, stick handled his way past a number of the Storm and finished well past Mike Clemente in the Manchester net to send the game to overtime.
With the home side piling on the pressure during the overtime, it was a Alex Foster game-winning goal with 8 seconds remaining that sent the Giants fans wild in The SSE Arena as the Belfast side secured their place in the semi-finals.
The Giants will now face the winner of the Cardiff Devils vs Dundee Stars Quarter Final. The Welsh side are 4-1 up from the first leg with the second leg in Cardiff on Wednesday.
Next up for the Giants are back-to-back home games on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd December against the Edinburgh Capitals at The SSE Arena. Both games face-off at 7pm.
Belfast Giants (7) 4-3 (6) Manchester Storm
Giants Man of the Match
#23 Alex Foster