Lee: Giants are capable of Euro glory

(PHOTO: Panthers Images)

Nottingham Panthers defenceman Stevie Lee reckons Belfast Giants are capable of emulating his team in winning the Continental Cup this weekend.

Unlike Panthers, the Giants are hosting the event at the SSE Arena with HK Gomel, GKS Katowice and Arlan Kokshetau all coming to Northern Ireland to challenge for the trophy.

And Lee reckons another British win – two years after the Panthers won it – will be a huge compliment to the Elite League.

“I think they’re more than capable and go on and win it,” he said. “Our team winning it was massive for this country and another team from here to do it again would put us on the map.

“It shows we’re catching up if we haven’t caught up already to some of the other leagues in Europe and it’s a massive compliment to the league.

“The Champions Hockey League place is a big carrot for all the teams taking part and I wish Belfast the best of luck.

“They’ve got a very strong roster and are very capable of taking the trophy this week.  Plus, it’s nice to play at home and Belfast will enjoy that this weekend.

“It’s huge for them and the fans will be there in numbers to cheer them on.”

Lee was part of Corey Neilson’s team who took the title in Ritten, Italy two years ago, winning all three games to become the first British team to succeed on Europe.

Lee and his Panthers team-mates celebrate their historic Continental Cup win in 2017 (PHOTO: Panthers Images)

They beat Odense Bulldogs 2-0 in the opening game, before edging past Kazakh side Beiberys Atyrau on penalty shots before completing the job against the hosts with a 4-1 win on the final day.

It’s a day that Lee looks back on now with nothing but pride and admits the second game and its outcome could have had a massive bearing on the eventual result.

He added: “It was a massive achievement for us two years ago and any time you can succeed on the European stage, it’s pretty special.

“Winning the first game was a great feeling, ticking that first one off the list and two more to go.

“You want to get off to a good start in the final tournament and we did that and the momentum carried us through until the end.

“Coming up against Beiberys Atyrau, they were a very good team that were highly skilled and deadly on the powerplay.

“We won that on penalty shots and had the result gone against us, it would have put more pressure on that last game and you become reliant on other results as well.

“Thankfully, we did the job and thank God for our shooters. The momentum from it carried us into third game and we did a great job.

“It was a special weekend and one I’m still proud of today.”

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