Challenge Cup: Cardiff Devils 4-5 Belfast Giants

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Derrick Walser began skating before the end of the Welsh Anthem

The Belfast Giants will go into the second leg of the Challenge Cup semi-final one goal up on the Cardiff Devils after a dramatic 5-4 win on Wednesday.

The Giants fought back from two goals down and will have home advantage when the Elite League's top two sides meet again on 8 February.

The sides were locked at 4-4 going into the final minute of the match.

Jim Vandermeer got the late goal, putting Belfast into the lead for the first time.

The Giants had to do without their player-coach for the opening 10 minutes
The Giants had to do without their player-coach for the opening 10 minutes

There was a controversial start to the match as Belfast's player-coach Derrick Walser was given a 10-minute penalty for 'skating before the end of the anthem'.

Layne Ulmer's powerplay opener and a second goal by Gleason Fournier had Cardiff in command at Ice Arena Wales but Colin Shields netted on the powerplay, from Walser's pass, to make it 2-1.

Guillaume Douicet restored Cardiff's two-goal cushion before Chris Higgins got a second for the Giants.

Joey Martin, though, made it 4-2 right at the end of the second period with the Giants claiming time was actually up before the goal was scored.

The Giants, one point behind the Devils at the top of the league, scored three without reply in the third period, the goals coming from Shields, Brandon Benedict and Vandermeer.

After the match Giants player-coach Walser apologised for the pre-match anthem incident
After the match Giants player-coach Walser apologised for the pre-match anthem incident

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