Braehead Clan rubber-stamped their place in next weekend’s EIHL Playoff Finals with a confident home second-leg 5-1 victory over the Nottingham Panthers, going through 9-1 on aggregate.
After having picked up a 4-0 first leg win on Thursday, there was already a feeling of being halfway there, but the Clan’s final period performance will have given hope to supporters that their recent poor run of form is now turning around just when it matters most and can carry through to the end of Sunday next week.
Saturday night also saw the remaining three quarter-final first-leg fixtures take place.
Belfast Giants produced a stunning opening to the second period away from home on their way to a 4-1 win over the Hull Stingrays.
Guillaume Doucet opened the scoring for the Stingrays midway through the first period on the powerplay, but Colin Shields, Chris Higgins and Jeffrey Szwez were on hand right after the break. Kevin Saurette also contributed late in the game, to give first blood to the Giants and leave a mountain to climb for Sylvain Cloutier’s men if they are to progress.
The final two spots are still hanging in the balance after with just one goal the difference in each of the games.
After falling behind 4-0 in just over half an hour, Dundee Stars were able to haul themselves back in to the tie against underdogs the Fife Flyers thanks to a hat-trick from Nikita Kashirsky.
Sheffield Steelers also take a slim advantage back to the Steel City after captain Steven Goertzen’s effort helped Doug Christensen’s team edge out Coventry Blaze 3-2 at the SkyDome.
- The remaining Playoff spots will be decided on Sunday with the return legs of Belfast Giants and Hull Stingrays (4:00pm) and Dundee Stars and Fife Flyers (6:30pm), and Tuesday night as Sheffield Steelers host Coventry Blaze (7:30pm)