Belfast Telegraph

Riley's brace helps Belfast Giants to Final Four

Fife Flyers 1 Belfast Giants 4 (Belfast Giants win 8-3 on aggregate)

By Stuart McKinley

Blair Riley scored a double in Kircaldy to book the Belfast Giants' ticket to the Play-off finals.

Matt Nickerson and Chris Higgins also scored in a 4-1 win over the Fife Flyers to secure a comfortable passage to the Final Four weekend in Nottingham on an 8-3 aggregate scoreline.

The Giants will now face the Sheffield Steelers in the semi-finals, with Elite League champions the Cardiff Devils meeting the Dundee Stars.

Leading 4-2 from Saturday's first leg, the Giants stretched their lead in the tie to three goals when Nickerson struck in the first period. He finished superbly at 11:05 after being set up by Brandon Benedict.

Knowing that they needed a minimum of three goals to have any chance of winning the tie, the Flyers came out strongly at the start of the second period and they were level on the night within four minutes.

Ryan Dingle stole possession of the puck and beat Stephen Murphy unassisted at 23:50.

It was when Fife ran into penalty trouble that the Giants inflicted full punishment and in turn put the tie beyond doubt.

Carlo Finucci was punished for a hooking offence at 35:14 and 41 seconds later Higgins and Mike Forney set up Riley to score his first of the night.

Dingle was in the box for tripping when the Giants went 7-3 ahead in the tie. Higgins skated through just 20 seconds into the powerplay to net at 39:45.

Riley made sure of the victory and a place in the Play-off semi-finals when he finished another move that involved Forney and Higgins four minutes into the third period.

Belfast Telegraph


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