Challenge Cup semi-final, second leg: Belfast 7-6 Nottingham (12-7 on agg)

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Challenge Cup: Belfast Giants 7-6 Nottingham Panthers

Belfast Giants overcame a scare to book a place in the Challenge Cup final as a 7-6 second-leg win over Nottingham completed a 12-7 aggregate success.

After their 5-1 first-leg away win, the Giants were stunned as the Panthers cut their lead to one goal by moving 5-2 up late in the second period.

However, goals by Blair Riley and Sebastien Sylvestre before the end of the second period eased Belfast nerves.

Two late Jonathan Ferland empty-net goals completed Belfast's win.

The Giants will face Cardiff in the final in the Welsh capital on 4 March after the Devils earned a stunning 7-1 home win over Sheffield Steelers on Wednesday to complete a 9-7 aggregate success.

Belfast were forced to make a change to their line-up with netminder Chris Truehl hastily called into action from the hospitality area in the SSE Arena after Jackson Whistle was a late withdrawal from the match.

The Panthers showed their intent to chase Belfast's four-goal advantage as David Clarke scored in the fifth minute.

Belfast appeared to have ended the tie as a contest as Sylvestre and Riley netted but Nottingham weren't giving up as goals from Mike Vaskivuo and Clarke put them 3-2 up on the night by the end of the first period.

The prospect of an astonishing Panthers comeback was very much on as Zack Phillips and Brett Perlini scored in the second period to put them 5-2 up and within one goal of levelling the tie.

However, a controversial penalty call against Nottingham's Mathieu Gagnon was punished by Riley scoring on the powerplay and Sylvestre then netted his second only five seconds before the end of the period.

All-time leading Giants scored Colin Shields made it 5-5 on the night and while Mark Derlago scored a sixth Panthers goal, Ferland's two empty-net efforts completed Belfast's 12-7 aggregate win.

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