Belfast Telegraph

Reddox comes up clutch as Giants secure Challenge Cup knockout spot despite loss in Glasgow

Glasgow Clan 3-2 Belfast Giants (OT)

Liam Reddox scored the goal that qualified the Giants for the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup (William Cherry/Presseye)
Liam Reddox scored the goal that qualified the Giants for the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup (William Cherry/Presseye)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Just when you thought they were dead and buried, somehow the Belfast Giants dragged themselves back out of the mire.

Facing Challenge Cup elimination at 2-1 down in the dying seconds of their final group game at the Glasgow Clan, needing just the one goal to send it to overtime and get the point they needed, from somewhere they pulled it off.

With 17 seconds remaining, defenceman Matt Pelech sent the puck along the blue-line for Jordan Smotherman, the winger rapped a slapshot on net and it got the tip from Liam Reddox to evade Clan netminder Patrick Killeen and find the twine.

Despite a shoddy group stage campaign, the Giants are somehow into the last-eight of the tournament and their hopes of making it three-in-a-row are still alive, but they needed every last second of the game to do so.

In the end, the fact they lost 3-2 in the shootout isn't even relevant, Chad Rau's winning penalty shot simply deciding the winner on the night rather than any significance in the context of the group.

Instead, the Giants will simply be relieved they managed to pull the result they needed out of the depths after they had been frustrated all evening by a sublime netminding performance from Patrick Killeen in the Clan net, the goalie making 50 saves across the 65 minutes.

The goaltender made a simply outrageous stop in the second period when for all the money in the world it looked like Liam Morgan had a tap-in rebound after Killeen batted the puck back into his path, only for the netminder to somehow get across the glove the shot.

Mikael Lidhammar was sure he had a goal when he finished past Owen at the crease late in the second period, only for the referees to wash it out on the ice, but that just set up what was a madcap final period.

It looked like the critical blow had come with just 5:22 left in the game, Nolan LaPorte throwing the puck back in front for Rau on the doorstep and he made no mistake with the finish to put the Giants on the back foot.

It had been Rau who had put the Clan in the lead as well, the centre forcing the puck in at the crease on the powerplay - with Pelech off for boarding - at 5:23 of the final period to put them ahead after two scoreless frames.

In between Rau's goals, Ciaran Long had levelled it up for the visitors - also on the powerplay with Linden Springer off for tripping - at 10:48 of the final period, the winger forcing in a rebound at the crease to make it 1-1 in Braehead.

But it was Reddox who was the Giants' hero when he tipped in Smotherman's shot in the dying seconds to salvage a remarkable result that somehow keeps their Cup hopes alive.

After that, the result wasn't overly important, although the Giants are still waiting for their first road win as their winless streak away from home stretches to six.

Scott Tanski thought he had it won for the Clan in overtime when he skated in on the breakaway and beat Owen gloveside, only for the clock to beat him first by clicking down to zero before the puck hit the twine.

Instead, it came down to Rau to win it in the shootout, beating Owen five-hole to send the fans at the Braehead Arena home happy.

The Giants return to action tomorrow when they take on the Clan in the second game of their double-header, only this time in an Elite League clash at the Braehead Arena (face-off 4:30pm).

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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