Belfast Giants defeat Braehead in Challenge Cup thriller

A last-gasp Chris Higgins goal gave Belfast Giants a 5-4 win over Braehead Clan in Saturday night's Challenge Cup game at the Odyssey Arena.

Jeff Mason put the hosts ahead but the Scots hit back with Matt Towe and Ed McGrane strikes.

A Colin Shields double restored Belfast's lead only for Nathan Moon and McGrane to make it 4-3 to the Clan.

Shields completed his hat-trick before Higgins scored the winner for the Giants with just 6.1 seconds left.

The Giants now have three wins in the Challenge Cup group stages after previous victories over Edinburgh and Dundee also doubled up as league games.

Belfast iced without captain Adam Keefe who was handed a three-match suspension by the Elite League for checking to the head after an incident in Friday night's 5-3 win over the Dundee Stars.

Kevin Saurette scores a hat-trick as the Belfast Giants beat the Dundee Stars at the Odyssey Arena.

The first period was high tempo hockey as both teams made a physical start to the game.

The Giants took the lead seconds after a powerplay had expired when defenceman Mason, who was trailing the play, found a loose puck and beat Clan netminder Kyle Jones. The goal was timed at 11:51.

The visitors turned the game around in the second period with goals from former Giants player Towe and McGrane on the powerplay.

However, the Giants came storming back with a couple of markers from Shields with the man advantage of their own, the second coming after a late hit on Darryl Lloyd by Chris Frank as a little nastiness crept in between the teams.

The Giants held the lead for less than 20 seconds as Moon made it 3-3 almost immediately.

McGrane's second goal of the game at 42:01 put the visitors ahead once more and led to an end-to-end finale.

Just when it looked like the Giants would run out of time up stepped Shields to complete his treble, setting the scene for Higgins' heroics as he fired the puck on net from behind the goal line, hitting Jones on the back and trickling in.

The Giants will be back in Elite League action next weekend with two away games, starting with Nottingham on Saturday and then against Hull the following day.