Belfast Giants ease into Challenge Cup semis with win over Stars
Belfast Giants 4-2 Dundee Stars (agg: 12-2)
The overall outcome of the tie may have been decided after the first leg, but the Belfast Giants made sure of the win with a 4-2 victory over the Dundee Stars at the SSE Arena.
Four goals inside the opening 11 minutes put this Challenge Cup quarter-final to bed, with Dundee's fightback never amounting to a serious challenge.
The Giants will now have to wait for the other quarter-finals to be complete to find out their next opponents, with the Nottingham Panthers the only other side through to the last four so far.
Indeed, there was almost an admission of the final outcome by both coaches before the game even began, with backup netminders Stephen Murphy and Craig Holland utilised by Belfast and Dundee respectively.
It took just over four minutes for the Giants to take the lead, Guillaume Gelinas thundering in a slapshot from the blue line at 4:28, with Darcy Murphy's dangle leading to the lead being doubled at 7:48.
Francis Beauvillier had a nice shot saved by Holland, but the winger did get his goal at 9:10 with a wrister from the high slot, with Josh Roach's right circle finish at 10:44 making it four.
The Stars did get on the board just before the end of the first period on the powerplay, defenceman Connor Cox with the shot that was tipped in by former Giants forward Matt Bissonnette at 16:27.
An even second period saw Darcy Murphy go closest for Belfast when he rattled the post with a shot before Johan Andersson just saw his shot go wide for Dundee.
But the visitors did strike again before the second intermission when Matt Marquardt deflected Fabrizio Ricci's shot out in front and it beat Murphy in goal at 37:40.
The third period was a timid affair, with both sides happy to see it out without taking any injuries, and Ballymoney's Andrew Dickson was introduced in goal for Belfast for the final stanza.
Again it was Beauvillier who went closest for the Giants, firstly being denied by Holland before striking the iron again after driving in from the right as the hosts sought a fifth goal.
It wouldn't come, and Dickson ensured he'd at least keep a third period shutout when he denied the dangerous Francois Bouchard late on, completing the victory.
Man of the Match: #5 Guillaume Gelinas
Belfast Telegraph Digital