Belfast Giants defeat Hull Stingrays to make Challenge Cup semis

Kevin Saurette (left) celebrates after scoring against Hull

Belfast Giants defeated Hull Stingrays 5-4 at the Odyssey to secure a 8-5 aggregate victory in the Challenge Cup quarter-final.

Kevin Saurette put the hosts ahead in the second leg, which doubled up as a league game, and he added a second after Jereme Tendler equalised.

Goals from Greg Stewart and Noah Clarke made it 4-1 but Hull hit back through Tender (2) and Jason Silverthorn.

Craig Peacock netted the winner to seal a place in the semi-finals.

Enjoying a 3-1 lead from the first leg in Hull, the Giants started with the aim of putting the contest beyond doubt as soon as possible and asserted early pressure on the Stingrays.

It paid off nine minutes in, Saurette scoring from close range, his second goal in as many games.

Hull hit back on a powerplay within two minutes with Tendler equalising but Saurette restored the Giants lead within another two minutes, reacting quickest when Stingrays netminder Ben Bowns could only block away a Robbie Sandrock shot.

And it was soon 4-1 as first Stewart poked the puck home from close range, then Clarke extended the home side's advantage with ice hockey's equivalent of a 'tap-in'.

Hull, to their credit, came back well in the second period, Tendler scoring his and his team's second of the night on a powerplay within four minutes of the restart.

A lively crowd of 5,264 also witnessed an official flat out on the ice but Tom Darnell, hit hard by the puck, was eventually fit to continue.

Tendler got his hat-trick after 32 minutes on a powerplay and Silverthorn levelled the scores as the visitors exploited yet another two minute penalty, this time on Colin Shields for slashing.

The Giants scored their fifth of the night just 46 seconds into the third period, Peacock netting what proved to be the decisive goal.

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