Belfast Giants out of play-offs after defeat by Nottingham Panthers
Belfast Giants were beaten in overtime as Nottingham Panthers won the play-offs quarter-final 8-7 on aggregate.
The Giants led 4-3 after the first leg at the SSE Arena and early goals from Jonathan Ferland and Kevin Raine gave them a three-goal cushion.
Nottingham hit back with four goals without reply as Mark Derlago, Evan Mosey, Brett Perlini and Yann Sauve put the hosts 7-6 in front on aggregate.
Jim Vandermeer levelled before Dan Spang scored the overtime winner.
Ferland netted the opener on the powerplay at 3:01, assisted by Vandermeer and 19 seconds later it was 2-0.
This time it was Raine who, for the first time this season, fired home assisted by Blair Riley and David Rutherford,
Derlago got the Panthers on the scoreboard early in the middle period, shooting into the Giants net from a tight angle at 23:07.
The Panthers were level on the night when Mosey pounced on the puck in the Giants zone and finished well at 34:58.
Early into the final period Perlini gave the Panthers the lead on the night and tied things up on aggregate.
Sauve gave the Panthers a lead on aggregate at 55:16 with a powerplay strike, assisted by Jeff Brown and David Clarke.
Vandermeer's goal sent the game into overtime when his shot from the blueline flew into the net at 55:46, assisted by Colin Shields and Sebastien Sylvestre.
Spang scored the crucial overtime goal, on a delayed penalty, assisted by Perlini with 26 seconds remanining.
Nottingham go through to the play-offs finals weekend while the defeat brings Belfast's season to an end.