Elite League play-offs: 'Opportunity' knocks for Giants

By Owen PhillipsBBC East Midlands Sport at the National Ice Centre
The Belfast Giants beat Nottingham Panthers

Belfast Giants are desperate for the chance to gain revenge over Nottingham Panthers in Sunday's Elite League play-off final after easing past Coventry Blaze in the semi-finals.

Giants cruised past Blaze 5-1 thanks to a professional display in Saturday's semi-finals at the National Ice Centre.

They now face treble-chasing Panthers in the end-of-season showpiece.

"We have been focusing this opportunity ever since we lost the league," said Giants coach Doug Christiansen.

"They are a very good team but we are very confident. We are excited to have the chance to wreck Nottingham's party."

Christiansen claims that his side got their tactics spot on against Blaze, as they booked a meeting with the Panthers, who beat Cardiff in the other semi-final.

"We wanted to posses the puck in the offensive zone, limit the opportunities and take advantage on the special teams," he said. "It was not very pretty but our penalty kill was outstanding and that has been a strength of ours."

Outgoing Coventry coach Paul Thompson said that, coming off last weekend's play-off quarter-final win over Sheffield, his injury-fatigued team's sloppy first half had cost them dear, but he had no complaints about the result.

"The first period was disappointing," said Thompson. "Last week's game took so much out of us and we gave up a couple of sloppy goals.

"In the second period, we outchanced them but the fourth goal was the final nail in the coffin and we ran out of gas.

"We were beaten by the better team. We gave it what we had but they were better than us and that's the reality.

"We need to be at full strength to give the big clubs a game."

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