The Stena Line Belfast Giants defeated GKS Katowice of Poland to set up a ‘winner takes all’ clash on Sunday against Arlan Kokshateu of Kazakstan for the Continental Cup. Face-Off on Sunday will be 5pm at The SSE Arena as both sides try to claim their first European title.
Saturday’s 4-2 victory over GKS Katowice saw the Giants maintain their 100% record in the Final with two wins from two. Friday’s earlier game saw Arlan Kokshetau of Kazakstan defeat Belarus’ HK Gomel 8-2.
Giants goals came from Darcy Murphy (x2), Curtis Leonard and Dustin Johner with Belfast backstopped by an impressive Tyler Beskorowany.
The Giants had the better of the play in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting Katowice 13-7, though they found Kevin Lindskoug in fine form in the visitors net.
Tyler Beskorowany was also putting up a impressive performance of his own, making one unbelievable stop from Dusan Devecka when he seemed destined to score into the open goal.
Darcy Murphy pulled the Giants into the lead at 17:07 when he turned quickly and shot from the point to find the bottom corner.
Katowice drew level early in the middle period when Bartosz Fraszko, assisted by Mikolaj Lopuski, squeezed the puck home at 20:14.
The Giants piled on the pressure and, at just over the halfway point in the game, they regained the lead. Kendall McFaull’s slapshot rebounded and fell kindly to Darcy Murphy who pounced to give Belfast the go-ahead goal at 31:14.
Katowice equalised again when Janne Laakkonen danced around the goalmouth and finished well, assisted by Jesse Rohtla and Dusan Devecka at 39:51.
The Giants got their third period off to the best possible start when Curtis Leonard and Blair Riley teamed up for Leonard to fire into the roof of the net at 40:15.
The Giants made sure of the Saturday win when Dustin Johner redirected Josh Roach’s shot into the Katowice net at 58:52. Johner’s goal made it 4-2 and guaranteed a Sunday showdown with Arlan for the Continental Cup.
Stena Line Belfast Giants 4-2 GKS Katowice (Poland)
#10 Curtis Leonard (1 Goal + 1 Assist)
The Giants return to the ice immediately on Sunday for their final IIHF Continental Cup Final game against Arlan Kokshetau of Kazakstan, face-off 5pm. The winner will claim the Continental Cup for the first time in their respective history.
Tickets are available from the Arena Box Office in person or by calling (028) 9073 9074 as well as online from ticketmaster.ie.