ICE HOCKEY: Belfast Giants hit five past Panthers in Challenge Cup

Belfast Giants in action
Belfast Giants in action

Nottingham Panthers 1

Belfast Giants 5

The Stena Line Belfast Giants will take a lead into next Wednesday’s Challenge Cup Semi-Final secnd Leg following Wednesday’s 5-1 road win against the Nottingham Panthers.

The Giants responded well to back-to-back defeats last weekend and goals from Rutherford, Vandermeer, Saviano, Goulakos and Sylvestre gave the Giants the first Leg lead.

Jackson Whistle turned away 24 shots in a stellar performance in net to give the Belfast side a great chance of reaching the Final in Cardiff on Sunday 4th March. Next Wednesday’s 2nd Leg takes place at The SSE Arena, face-off 7pm.

David Rutherford opened the scoring with a fine powerplay goal at 10:01, assisted by Jim Vandermeer. Vandermeer grabbed a goal of his own little over four minutes later when he picked his spot and fired past Galbraith at 14:15, assisted by David Rutherford and Blair Riley.

Steve Saviano made it 3-0 82 seconds into the middle period, assisted by Blair Riley and David Rutherford.

However Mark Derlago pulled one back for the home side with a fortunate bounce at 24:00.

Spiro Goulakos restored the Giants three goal advantage at 28:35 with an unassisted shorthanded effort.

Sebastien Sylvestre gave the Giants a four goal cushion going into next Wednesday’s 2nd Leg at 53:30 with the visitors’ second powerplay goal of the game, assisted by Colin Shields and Jonathan Ferland.