Challenge Cup: Belfast Giants beat Glasgow Clan in second leg to make final
The Belfast Giants beat Glasgow Clan 6-3 in the second leg of their Challenge Cup semi-final at the SSE Arena on Thursday to progress 7-5 on aggregate.
Goals from Jordan Smotherman (2), David Rutherford and Kyle Baun had the Giants in control, Matt Beca replying before the end of the first period.
Blair Riley and Craig Peacock traded goals in the second period.
Travis Erhardt pulled one back for Clan but Josh Roach found the net to secure the holders' place in the final.
The Giants will face Guildford Flames in the decider in Cardiff on Sunday 10 March.
Leading 5-2 from the first leg, Flames won the second leg 3-1 to take an 8-3 aggregate victory.
The Giants flew out of the blocks with four first period goals that turned their 2-1 deficit from the first leg in Scotland into a two-goal advantage.
Two powerplay goals edged them into the lead in the tie when Smotherman's classy backdoor finish was followed by Rutherford gobbling up a rebound.
Nineteen seconds after the second goal Clan netminder Joel Rumpel coughed up another juicy rebound and Smotherman was there to hammer the puck past him.
Another string forechecking shift saw Darcy Murphy set up Baun for a one-timer that made it 4-0.
The perfect 20 minutes for the home side was spoilt when a turnover in their own zone led to Beca restoring hope for the Clan.
In a tightly fought second period Riley's little toe-drag of the puck onto his skate and quick release beat Rumpel with Peacock replying to keep the contest alive heading into the final period.
When Ehrhardt's blueline shot beat Giants netminder Tyler Beskorowany with 15 minutes remaining suddenly there were a few nerves around the arena but on the powerplay a wrist shot from Roach calmed everyone down and it turned out to be the final goal of there game as the Giants held on to reach the final.