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Giants flex their muscles to set up last-four duel with Panthers

Belfast Giants 7-0 Fife Flyers

By Stuart McKinley

The Belfast Giants breezed into the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup on a 10-3 aggregate score by dishing out a magnificent 7-0 hammering to the Fife Flyers in the quarter-final second leg.

They will now meet the Nottingham Panthers in the last-four, but it wasn't just the nature of the convincing victory that will please coach Adam Keefe.

The fact that the goals were scored by seven different players shows the depth of the attacking talent in the Giants' line-up and the win against the team sitting third in the Elite League table lays down a marker for the final three months of the title race.

The tone was set early on when the Giants took the lead just after the five-minute mark. Colin Shields moved the puck to Steve Saviano and he fired his shot high into the net.

The lead was doubled six minutes later when Brendan Connolly cracked home a stunning shot after being set up by good work from Cole Jarrett and Matt Towe.

Fife were far from out of the contest though, with the Giants having to rely on Jackson Whistle making two saves.

Almost a minute of a five-on-three powerplay early in the second period gave the Giants a great opportunity to stretch their lead, but it was 18 seconds after Fife got a fourth skater back on the ice that the third arrived.

Blair Riley finished at 24:20 after Jarrett again played a part in a move that also involved David Rutherford.

The Giants had been 3-1 up in the first leg before letting the lead slip, but there was no danger of that happening this time around once they scored a fourth goal on the night.

Jonathan Ferland exchanged passes with Spiro Goulakos before producing a cool finish to beat Fife goaltender Andy Iles at 34:53.

Two goals inside five minutes early in the third period knocked whatever fight there was left out of the Flyers.

Even with Riley off the ice for a hooking offence, the Giants scored 22 seconds into the penalty when Shields netted at 43:59 after being sent in on goal by Saviano.

Jarrett, who had a great night assisting on five of the goals, then took a pass from Ryan Martinelli before setting up Rutherford for a fine sixth goal at 48:33.

Iles was put out of his misery after that, with Jordan Marr taking over in the Fife goal for the final 11 minutes.

He had to scoop the puck out of the net at 52:43 when Darcy Murphy finished on a powerplay after being found by a neat pass by Rutherford.

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