Challenge Cup: Nottingham 5-3 Belfast (10-4 agg)

Nottingham Panthers won their fourth Challenge Cup in five seasons thanks to a 10-4 aggregate victory over Elite League leaders Belfast Giants.

Panthers led the Giants 5-1 following a remarkable first leg in Belfast and won 5-3 on the night to seal the trophy at the National Ice Centre.

The hosts raced 3-0 ahead but Belfast battled back to level the second-leg score and give them a glimmer of hope.

But Panthers survived the rest of the second period and added two late goals.

It was a thoroughly professional victory for Panthers, but it looked like being a rout after a blistering opening.

Sami Ryhanen put the hosts ahead and David Clarke doubled the lead after being teed up by Matthew Myers.

Robert Lachowicz then made it 3-0 when he was first to react after a swift breakaway but Giants dragged themselves back in the game.

Jon Pelle made it 3-1 on powerplay by the end of the first period and further goals from Robert Dowd and then Jeff Mason early in the third session levelled the scores on the night.

But a brilliantly taken Matt Francis penalty shot settled any lingering doubts of a home win as the game became increasingly feisty.

And an empty-net effort from skipper Danny Meyers sealed a third consecutive Challenge Cup success for Panthers.