Giants and Flames set up date in Cardiff

(PHOTO: William Cherry/Press Eye)

We round up the night’s Challenge Cup Semi Final second leg action as Belfast Giants and Guildford Flames dumped their Valentine’s dates to set up a rendezvous in Cardiff next month.

BELFAST GIANTS 6 GLASGOW CLAN 3 (Belfast Giants win 7-5 on aggregate)

Belfast Giants made it to their second straight Challenge Cup Final as they overcame the 2-1 aggregate deficit to go through 7-5 over the two games.

They came out of the blocks in the first period and were four goals up in the opening period to make life difficult for Pete Russell’s men.

Chris Higgins found Jordan Smotherman and he cracked one into the net as the home side went level on aggregate with the night’s first goal.

They were soon two up as David Rutherford finished a rebound for the second after Blair Riley’s shot from the left face-off circle was saved by Joel Rumpel.

Smotherman added his second and Belfast’s third before Kyle Baun delivered a powerful finish to put the home side four up without reply.

Glasgow pulled one back through Matt Beca, but Belfast netted again as Blair Riley got on the board four minutes into the second to make it 5-1 on the night.

Strikes from Craig Peacock and Travis Ehrhardt got the Clan to within one, but in the end, the Giants killed it off with Josh Roach netting on the powerplay to clinch victory and a place in the final in Cardiff on Sunday 10thMarch.

(PHOTO: Panthers Images)

NOTTINGHAM PANTHERS 1 GUILDFORD FLAMES 3 (Guildford Flames won 8-3 on aggregate)

Guildford Flames have reached their first ever final in Elite League competition after completing the job with a 3-1 victory at Nottingham Panthers.

They were 5-2 up from the first leg and will go on to meet Belfast after an 8-3 aggregate just two years after joining the Elite League.

Panthers had it all to do and when both teams returned to their locker rooms after a goalless first period, it was perhaps a sign that Rick Strachan’s men were not going to be able to pull it off.

Kevin King got the opening goal for the Flames on 28 minutes to nudge them ahead and increase their aggregate lead to four.

Five minutes later, they had doubled and it seemed like the job was done as Ian Watters scored, with an assist from Brett Ferguson to make it 7-2 on aggregate.

The Panthers hit back through Justin Kovacs, which needed goal line tech to confirm it at Guildford’s request.

But they rounded off a great night as Jamie Crooks scored on the powerplay and the celebrations could begin for Paul Dixon and his team as they can look forward to a trip to South Wales.

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