Continental Cup Final: Belfast Giants beat GKS Katowice to set up Euro decider

Darcy Murphy
Darcy Murphy has now scored three goals in the Continental Cup Final

Belfast Giants are one game away from winning a first Continental Cup title after beating GKS Katowice 4-2 at the SSE Arena.

The Giants will now face Arlan Kokshetau of Kazakhstan in a winner-takes-all decider on Sunday.

Darcy Murphy scored twice, with Curtis Leonard and Dustin Johner also on the scoresheet against the Polish outfit.

The Giants hammered Belorussian side HK Gomel 5-0 in their opening match of the European competition on Friday.

Arlan Kokshetau followed up their win over Katowice on Friday with an easy 8-2 victory over Gomel.

The Giants' 4-2 win over Katowice was a reverse of the scoreline when the two sides met in the semi-final in Belfast in November.

Both netminders were busy early on, with Tyler Beskorowany and Kevin Lindskoug making important stops to keep the game scoreless before the Katowice goalie was eventually beaten by a deflection at 17:07.

The Giants celebrated their second Continental Cup Final win
The Giants celebrated their second Continental Cup Final win

A bouncing puck was controlled by Murphy and he turned and shot at the net from the slot, with Lindskoug beaten when the puck hit a defenceman on the way in.

The visitors equalised just 14 seconds into the second period when Bartosz Fraszko beat Beskorowany for the first time in the tournament.

The game tightened with few clear cut chances but the Giants regained the lead at 31:14 when Kendall McFaull's blueline shot whistled past the post, off the backboards and back in front of the net, where Murphy was quickest to react to tuck it into an unguarded net.

A late icing call cost the home side the second intermission lead, with Janne Laakkonen lifting the puck over the prone Beskorowany to make it 2-2.

The Giants soon regained the lead, with Leonard intercepting the puck, getting the return pass from Blair Riley and burying it in the top corner after only 15 seconds of the third period.

Late penalty trouble stymied any comeback from Katowice and, with a two-man advantage, Johner deflected Josh Roach's pass past Lindskoug to seal the win and set-up a dramatic climax against the pre-tournament favourites.