Ice Hockey: Dundee Stars reach play-off finals as Clan and Flyers bow out
Head coach Marc LeFebvre hailed Dundee Stars' performances as "the best weekend of the season" as they qualified for the Play-off finals.
The Stars will be the only Scottish participants in Nottingham next week after overcoming the heavily favoured Braehead Clan to win 6-1 over two legs.
"We're going to the prom!" said a delighted LeFebvre.
"I'm so proud of my group, who have really bonded and come together when we were being written off in January."
The Canadian, 34, added: "We found something to rally round and I couldn't ask for any more than what they gave me. I couldn't be any prouder of them and what they've achieved.
"It's our best weekend of the season, to shut out Braehead Clan on their own ice in a play-off game with the attacking power they have.
"All we did was stick to a game plan and executed it well. As far as what I've achieved, taking a team with the second lowest budget to the finals, it's a phenomenal feeling."
Dundee were the better team across the 120 minutes, beginning the weekend with a 3-1 home win.
Stars got the breakthrough eight minutes into the first period as Brett Switzer's initial effort was rebounded back out for Justin Faryna to score.
Alex Leavitt regained parity for the Clan early in the second period when he took the puck, drifted in from the right and coolly lifted it into the net.
But Stars were back in front by the end of the middle period as Mikael Lidhammar tucked in from close range, with Scarsella burying a shot in the third to give them the advantage.
While the mood was positive from the Clan, they just could not find a way through in the second leg as they suffered a shutout loss to end the season on a damp note.
Dundee took the lead as Joey Sides and Bruijsten set up Cale Tanaka, who turned the effort in from close range.
Sides scored the goal that effectively clinched the tie with an excellent solo goal to slot it beyond Zajkowski. Then the party was in full swing when Sides turned provider as Kevin Hart swept his shot into the net.
It left Braehead Clan coach Ryan Finnerty dejected as his team failed to make the final four for the third year in a row.
"I have to give Dundee a lot of credit," he conceded. "They played incredibly, but I felt we just couldn't get going and I feel bad for the guys in the locker room.
"The first goal they scored in the second leg hurt us, scoring against the run of play, but I give Marc and his team a lot of praise. It was a tough year, but it's sad to end this way."
Flyers fall to Giants
Fife Flyers also missed out as they were sunk by Belfast Giants over two legs to prevent them from a second appearance in Nottingham in a row.
They were beaten 4-2 in Belfast on Saturday as Sebastian Thinel's opener for Fife was turned over by Steve Saviano and Chris Higgins.
Giants player-coach Derrick Walser added a third for the home side, with Chase Schaber pulling another back before Walser struck again.
The team from Northern Ireland brought that form into Sunday's second leg in Kirkcaldy for a 4-1 success.
Former Flyer Matt Nickerson put the Giants ahead before Ryan Dingle squared the game, but power play goals from Blair Riley and Higgins put the visitors firmly in control.
Riley grabbed his second of the night early in the final frame, with Higgins collecting his third point of the night as Todd Dutiaume's men bowed out.
Play-off quarter finals
Belfast Giants 4-2 Fife Flyers
Dundee Stars 3-1 Braehead Clan
Braehead Clan 0-3 Dundee Stars (Dundee won 6-1 on aggregate)
Fife Flyers 1-4 Belfast Giants (Belfast won 8-3 on aggregate)