Continental Cup: Belfast Giants 1-0 Neman Grodno

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Mike Kompon of the Belfast Giants

Belfast Giants got off to a winning start in the Continental Cup semi-finals with a 1-0 victory over Neman Grodno in France on Friday.

Mike Kompon hit the roof of the net late in the second period to secure the win over the Belarusian side in Angers.

The Elite League champions take on hosts Angers on Saturday night before finishing against Polish club Sanok on Sunday afternoon.

The top two sides from the pool go through to the Super Final in January.

The victory will go down as one of the most famous in the Odyssey team's 15-season history with a gutsy team performance against fine opposition.

Both Maxim Samankov in the Grodno net and Carsen Chubak for Belfast were called into making vital saves for their team with the latter only playing his third game for the organisation.

The Giants could not break through a tough Grodno defence on two powerplay opportunities and the opening period ended without a breakthrough.

At the end of the period Kevin Westgarth was assessed a 'Kneeing' penalty which saw him sit out the remainder of the game and gave Grodno a five-minute powerplay to begin the second period.

The Giants withstood three Grodno powerplay opportunities despite their opponents applying waves of pressure.

Then, with 38:31 on the clock, Kompon went one-on-one with Samankov and fired the puck into the net, assisted by Adam Keefe, to put the Giants ahead.

The third period was as frantic as the others with end-to-end action throughout, however with the clock ticking down Grodno became desperate for a goal and piled the pressure onto the Giants.

Belfast's newest signing Chubak came into his own in the final 20 minutes, making save after save to keep Grodno at bay.

His made an impressive string of stops in the dying minutes as the Giants killed off a six-on-four penalty to close out the game and earn a memorable win.

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