Challenge Cup: Belfast Giants 4-6 Edinburgh Capitals

Belfast's Blair Riley is challenged by Capitals opponent Jay King in Saturday night's league game
Belfast's Blair Riley is challenged by Capitals opponent Jay King in Saturday night's league game

Belfast Giants missed the chance to secure a place in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals after losing to Edinburgh Capitals at the SSE Arena.

With the game tied at 4-4 it was the Scots who secured two vital points with a couple of third period goals.

It leaves the battle for the knockout stages a four-team race with Dundee and Fife also in the hunt.

Brendan Connolly, Jonathan Ferland, Darcy Murphy and John Kurtz netted for the Giants in Saturday night's game.

Belfast iced without the injured Dustin Johner and Jim Vandermeer, while Cole Jarrett served the second game of his two-match suspension.

With netminder Stephen Murphy also out it was Ballymoney's Andrew Dickson who got the start in goal for the home side.

Visitors net opener

Edinburgh took the lead on the powerplay early in the first period when Dylan Anderson scored but the Giants had soon turned that around when Connolly's wrist shot found the top corner and Ferland retrieved his own rebound to score.

However, before the end of the opening 20 minutes Marek Tvrdon equalised to make the score 2-2.

The Capitals' newest signing was on target again shortly after the restart to put his side in front for the second time in the game, but the Giants weren't behind for long as Murphy netted on the powerplay.

The game became increasingly open as the action went from end to end and the Scottish team moved ahead once again through Pavel Vorobyov.

Jonathan Ferland guides the puck into the Edinburgh net to give the Giants a 2-1 lead at the SSE Arena
Jonathan Ferland guides the puck into the Edinburgh net to give the Giants a 2-1 lead at the SSE Arena

But the ding-dong battle continued when Kurtz pocketed a rebound on the powerplay to make it 4-4 heading into the final period.

It was the Capitals who went in front and won the game, starting with Julius Nyqvist's one-timer beating Dickson to restore their lead.

Despite a number of chances to equalise again the Giants couldn't and Sergei Banashkov sealed the victory with a late empty netter.

It was the first home defeat for the Giants this season - on Sunday they return to Elite League action at the Manchester Storm.