Who’ll compete to win the Challenge Cup next month? We’ll know after tonight’s game as the Semi-Final second legs both take place tonight – with one even live on FreeSports!
1900 Belfast Giants vs. Glasgow Clan (Agg.: 1-2| Tickets | FreeSports Live)
Belfast are the current holders, and Glasgow are chasing their first Challenge Cup Final. Join Aaron Murphy and Paul Adey live on FreeSports from 18:30 for this encounter!
The Clan head to Belfast with a slender one-goal advantage from the first leg, going in to an arena they’ve not won in this season – but lost by only one and two goals respectively. The Giants haven’t lost at home to EIHL opposition since the end of December and while their firepower has been a weapon all season (averaging 5.4 goals/game in their last five), they have been conceding more goals of late which the Clan will no doubt be aware of (average 3.2 goals against/game in last five).
“We’ll approach it like this is a regular game, and just try to win a hockey game. Obviously we can’t tie it, but as long as we win the game then we’ll move on. We have to just worry about being the best version of ourselves, both individually and as a team.” – Adam Keefe (Head Coach, Belfast Giants)
“We’re up by a goal, but we know Belfast have a great team. We’ll give everything we have there, one goal is a nice head start, but we’re going to have to play almost a perfect game to reach the Challenge Cup Final.” – Joel Rumpel (Goalie, Glasgow Clan)
1930 Nottingham Panthers vs. Guildford Flames (Agg.: 2-5 | Tickets)
The Panthers welcome Guildford to Nottingham in a much bigger whole than the other Semi-Final. Three-down from the first leg, Rick Strachan’s side will need to beat the Flames by at least four to make their first Challenge Cup Final since 2015–16. Guildford meanwhile are hoping their aggregate lead will help them into their first ever Challenge Cup Final.
Both teams ended two-game losing runs with wins on Sunday, although how the Flames let slip a three-goal lead won’t have gone unnoticed. Since the Flames joined the Elite League, they’ve not lost in Nottingham by more than two goals, indeed the Panthers have scored no more than three against them at the Motorpoint Arena.
“We’ve had a few good days of practice, and are coming in to this game looking to do some damage. Initially we have to look at it as another game, and not concentrate on the aggregate scoreline, especially in the first period. We know we’re good enough to win game by three or four goals.” – Robert Lachowicz (Forward, Nottingham Panthers)
“A three goal lead going to Nottingham is nice, but it can disappear pretty quickly if we aren’t ready to play. We know they’re a very dangerous team, so we can’t go there thinking that we have this advantage.” – Calle Ackered (Forward, Guildford Flames)