Cardiff Devils 2 Belfast Giants 1 (Giants win 5-2 on aggregate): The Belfast Giants’ treble dream is alive.
The chance to make this the most successful season in the team’s history was given a major boost last night as Doug Christiansen’s men booked a Challenge Cup final date with the Nottingham Panthers.
Although they went down 2-1 to the Cardiff Devils in the Welsh capital, the Giants’ 4-0 victory in the first leg at the Odyssey 10 days ago was more than enough to see them go through to the decider.
The Devils knew they needed to score first — and they did exactly that through Scott Matzka on 15 minutes.
A single goal from the Giants was always going to give Cardiff a huge task and, when Colin Hemingway levelled the scores on the night two minutes later, the tie was all but won.
Craig Weller was sitting out a high stocking penalty when the Giants power play — much maligned for a lot of the season — continued its recent rich vein of form. Craig Peacock and Simon Lambert created the opening and Hemingway was on hand to fire home.
It wasn’t until three minutes from the end that the Devils managed to score again — Kenton Smith earning the hosts victory on the night —and by then it was far too late.