Giants roar back to stun Storm

Belfast Giants produced an impressive comeback at home to Manchester Storm to advance to the Elite Challenge Cup semi-finals.

With the teams tied at 3-3 following last week’s first leg, early goals by Connor Varley and Taylor Dickin gave the visitors an unexpected lead in the tie.

Steve Saviano made it 5-4 on aggregate in the 11th minute, but Cody Cartier quickly restored Storm’s two-goal advantage.

After a scoreless middle session, Chris Higgins reduced the gap to one early in the third period before tying things up with a stunning finish in the 48th minute.

The 60 minutes ended with the scores still level at 6-6 overall, but the home side piled on the pressure during overtime and were rewarded with just eight seconds remaining when Alex Foster scored to secure the Giants’ place in the last four.

Player/Coach Derrick Walser was delighted with his team’s resilience.

“We didn’t quit – everyone played their heart out,” said Walser. “It’s really great to see that we didn’t give up, we didn’t panic, we just kept pushing and pushing.

“A two-goal lead is the worst lead in hockey, everyone knows that – you just have to get one and then a second one early and then you know that the third one is coming but you don’t know when. I’m just glad it came when it did.

“We left it all out there – we didn’t have the best two periods, but we said we’re just going to go out and we’re going to play and we’re going to force.

“It was a nice reward for the guys – you could see how much they wanted it by the celebrations when we won, but it is only one game – it’s onto the next round now.”

(Image permission: Press Eye)

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