Champions Hockey League: Belfast Giants edged out in overtime by Augsburg
Belfast Giants were denied back-to-back Champions Hockey League wins as they lost 3-2 to Augsburg in overtime.
The game dramatically turned on a VAR decision late in normal time which saw a Bobby Farnham Giants goal being disallowed for high sticking.
Augsburg's Matt Fraser then hit the winner 36 seconds into overtime.
Fraser had put Augsburg 1-0 up but Jordan Smotherman and Patryk Wronka netted for the Giants before Marco Sternheimer levelled.
With the game tied at 2-2 the Giants thought they had scored when Curtis Leonard lobbed the puck in the direction of the Panthers net and Farnham tipped it in.
The goal was given on the ice but the officials took a long look at the video and finally decided Farnham's stick was above the height off the crossbar and disallowed the goal.
Giants now tied with Augsburg and Lulea in group
It was a critical decision and means that after the first two CHL matches the Giants, who had beaten Liberec 5-4 on Thursday and would have been top of Group C with a victory, are now tied with Augsburg and Swedish side Lulea on four points after they picked up a point for an OT loss.
The crowd of over 5,000 included a large vocal travelling support from Augsburg of around 600 and they added to the atmosphere of what was another exciting game.
Augsburg started strongly although there was controversy over their opening goal at 6:48.
The Giants were convinced the puck had inadvertently been touched by a player sitting on the bench but they were guilty of not playing to the whistle, hesitating for a moment and that was all the visitors needed for Sternheimer to force the puck under Giants netminder Shane Owen and giving Fraser an easy tap-in.
The home side gradually found a way back into the game with Patrick Mullan seeing his backhand effort hit the post.
Aided by a couple of powerplays they turned that momentum into the equaliser at 17:24. With the man advantage Patryk Wronka kept the puck in at the blueline, Liam Reddox made a diving play to keep it alive and Liam Morgan's pressure forced the turnover for Smotherman to beat Markus Keller from between the hash marks.
Giants squander four-minute powerplay
The second period was a tight checking contest with no quarter given.
Both sides still created chances and while Owen denied the German side the Giants took one of theirs. Wronka led the rush up ice, slammed on the brakes, took his time and then using a defenceman as a screen, rifled the puck past the unsighted Keller.
The Giants missed the chance to go further ahead squandering a four-minute powerplay as Augsburg grew more frustrated and they also failed to take advantage of a carry over penalty into the third period.
Belfast were made to pay as Augsburg tied the score at 2-2 following a Giants turnover deep in their own zone.
A scramble ensued in front of their net and Owen was deemed not to have covered the puck and Sternheimer was credited with the final touch.
It was a frantic finish with both sides chasing the winner - the Giants thought they had it, VAR ruled it out, setting the stage for the overtime winner for Augsburg.