Challenge Cup: Cardiff Devils into final after 5-1 second-leg win over Belfast Giants
Cardiff Devils stunned Belfast Giants to progress to the Challenge Cup final after earning a 5-1 win at the SSE Arena to take an 9-6 aggregate success.
The Giants were favourites after a 5-4 win in Wales but goals from Patrick Bordeleau and Mark Louis put Cardiff ahead by the end of the opening period.
Louis increased Cardiff's lead in the second period before Chris Jones made it 4-0 after a Jackson Whistle parry.
Chris Higgins replied but Matthew Myers struck late on to seal Cardiff's win.
The victory sets up a final against either Sheffield Steelers or the Nottingham Panthers as Cardiff remain on course for an Elite League and Challenge Cup double.
Cardiff lead the Giants by one point at the top of the Elite League table although Belfast have been very much the form team over the last couple of months.
Devils take control early in Belfast contest
The visitors wiped out the Giants' first-leg lead in less than six minutes with Bordeleau beating Whistle from close range.
David Rutherford hit the bar as the Giants sought to re-establish an advantage before the temperature rose in the arena as Bordeleau clashed with Belfast captain Adam Keefe after the Cardiff player's high challenge on Jonathan Boxill.
Bordeleau was thrown out of the game with Keefe having to sit out five minutes but the Giants couldn't make the ensuing five minute powerplay count and Cardiff, back to full strength, grabbed a second goal through Louis with just 10 seconds left in the first period.
The Devils established a dominant position in the second period as Louis got his second goal and Jones pounced on a parry by Jackson Whistle to make it 4-0 on the night.
After Whistle was replaced by veteran keeper Stephen Murphy, the Giants gave themselves a glimmer of hope when player-coach Derrick Walser set up Higgins to score before the end of the second period.
However, the 4,021 home crowd was silenced again in the final period when Myers fired to the net after Murphy had palmed away an initial shot.