The Stena Line Belfast Giants have secured their place in the International Ice-Hockey Federation Continental Cup Super Final despite a defeat against GKS Katowice. The Giants, cheered on by an electric atmosphere at the SSE Arena, lost out to the Polish side 4-2 though finished in first place in their Semi-Final group. Katowice take second place in the group and also advance to the Super Final, at the expense of Croatia’s Medvescak Zagreb and Ritten Sport of Italy.
The Giants now advance to the Continental Cup Super Final to be held 11th-13th January at a venue still that will be decided by the IIHF after the completion of the other Semi-Final group currently underway in Lyon, France.
Tyler Beskorowany started in the Belfast net with Colin Shields, Jonathan Ferland, Matt Towe, Andrew Dickson and Guillaume Gelinas missing for the Giants. The Giants defeat followed Medvescak Zagreb’s 3-1 victory over Ritten Sport of Italy earlier on Saturday.
Roach Wrister Puts Giants In Front
The opening minutes of this Continental Cup decided were end-to-end with both sides going close to opening the scoring.
At 9:50 the deadlock was broken when Josh Roach unleashed a fierce wrist shot into the roof of the Katowice net, assisted by Dustin Johner.
Katowice Fight Back In Belfast
Belfast came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders in the middle period and at 20:31 they had their reward. David Rutherford and Blair Riley combined to feed the puck to Darcy Murphy whose awesome finish past Lindskoug in the Katowice doubled the hosts lead.
However Katowice fought back and pulled one back midway through the game. With the Giants on the penalty kill, Mikolaj Lopuski pulled a clever move to squeeze the puck under Beskorowany’s pad, assisted by Niko Tuhkanen, at 31:14.
At 32:12, Katowice had their deserved equaliser. Jesse Rohtla finished off a nice move at the back post from a Patryk Wronka pass.
Katowice Take Saturday Win
The visitors continued their rich vein of form in the final period – taking the lead for the first time at 44:29 when Niko Tuhkanen bundled the puck home, assisted by Patryk Wronka.
Janne Laakkonen capped an impressive performance by the Polish side, scoring an empty net goal to seal the win at 59:09.
Stena Line Belfast Giants 2-4 GKS Katowice (Poland)
Giants Man of the Match
#77 Josh Roach (1 Goal)
The Giants now return to domestic action – facing the Coventry Blaze and the Guildford Flames away next Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Next at home for the Giants is the Cardiff Devils on Sunday 9th December, face-off 5pm, before facing the Dundee Stars two days later on Tuesday 11th December in the Challenge Cup Quarter-Final 2nd Leg, face-off 7pm.
Tickets are available from the Arena Box Office, in person or by calling (028) 9073 9074 as well as online from ticketmaster.ie.