The Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals got under way tonight with an impressive win from Belfast away from home, while Glasgow’s late goal put them back to within one goal of Cardiff ahead of the second leg. In league action, Nottingham beat Milton Keynes for the second time in five days.
Dundee Stars 0-8 Belfast Giants
A dominant performance from Belfast Giants put them well in control in their Challenge Cup Quarter-Final against Dundee.
Three goals in the opening period put the Giants in total control of the game, despite the Starts having the better of the opening seven minutes or so. David Rutherford made it 1-0 with just over eight minutes gone, and when the forward was left open in the slot at 12:13 he doubled the lead. Kyle Baun gave the Giants their third of the night with only a little more than 15 minutes played to give the Stars a real uphill battle.
The Giants however didn’t let up and fired in four goals in the middle session – Baun added his second before Lewis Hook, Hunter Bishop all got in on the act to make it six, with Baun then completing his hat-trick for 7-0 after two periods. Jim Vandermeer made it eight at 45:12 with what would be the last goal of the night as the Giants celebrate a huge road win.
Nottingham Panthers 4-1 MK Lightning
Another Nottingham – Milton Keynes meeting, and another win for the Panthers as the sides faced each other for the second time in five days.
Luke Pither’s go-ahead goal for the Panthers with 1:41 left on the first period had the Panthers ahead at the first break, but the Lightning would equalise just over halfway through the next period through Czech Martin Mazanec. That tied score lasted however for only 90 seconds or so as Alex Guptill put the Panthers back ahead. Before the period was over Robert Lachowicz found the net, with 14 seconds left before the intermission, to put the Panthers into a two-goal lead that they’d hold through the final period. Only an empty net goal from Lachowicz changed the score, making it a 4-1 win with 36 seconds left.
Glasgow Clan 2-4 Cardiff Devils
Glasgow Clan’s late goal has them only a goal behind on aggregate after a game where the final outcome could have been much worse for the home side.
A good start for the visitors saw them three up after just one period in Scotland. Stephen Dixon opened the scoring with 4:24 gone, a lead doubled by Charles Linglet at 7:21. By the time Joey Martin made it three with 16:44 gone the Clan found themselves in somewhat of a hole.
The home side got back into the game thanks to Zach Fitzgerald early in the second period, but the Devils went back three ahead thanks to Matt Pope just past the 32 minute mark. Brendan Connolly brought it back to 2-4 with just under five minutes to go in the period however to give the Clan another lifeline.
And that was how things looked to be staying until a late, late goal brought the Clan well back into the tie. Vaclav Stupka got it with 22 seconds left to make it a one-goal series when the sides meet for the return leg in Cardiff on 14 December.