Devils get the better of Giants to make it three play-off victories in a row


After an intense season of hockey, four teams, Belfast Giants, Cardiff Devils, Guildford Flames and Dundee Stars made it to the Elite League play-off finals weekend in Nottingham.

The weekend where British Ice Hockey fans come together to witness who will be crowned play-off winners was once again a wonderful event at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham.

The first game on over the weekend on Saturday afternoon saw the Elite League winners Belfast Giants face the side who finished in seventh place in the league the Dundee Stars.

It was the Giants to be the first side to reach Sunday’s final after a 6-0 shutout of the Dundee Stars.

Mark Cooper opened the scoring at 14:22 in the opening period. Copper bagged his second and Giants second of the game a minute into the second period before going on to completing his hat trick before the half way point of the game.

There was time for three further strikes from Belfast including two powerplay goals from Lewis Hook and David Goodwin to send Giants into the final.

The other semi-final featured Cardiff Devils who finished in third spot, two places ahead of the Guildford Flames.

A Justin Crandall goal with just 2:18 left of regulation time sent Devils into Sunday’s final for the third successive time.

The deadlock was broken in the first period at 12:45 when Jake Coughler netted. In the second period Cole Sanford doubled Cardiff’s advantage.

Not for the first time in the play-offs, Guildford yet again had to come back from behind. Turner Ripplinger cut the deficit to one after scoring early in the third period. With five minutes left, Ripplinger was on hand to score and level the tie.

With only two minutes remaining in the third period, Devils converted a powerplay opportunity when Brody Reid finished from a tight angle to book Cardiff’s place in Sunday’s final.

It was a repeat of the 2022 Premier Sports Challenge Cup Final on Sunday afternoon with the Devils facing off against the Giants.

Cardiff struck first when Sanford slotted home. The Devils doubled their lead halfway through the opening period on the powerplay with Sanford turning provider for Coughler to finish.

Giants responded when leading British scorer Scott Conway unleashed an unstoppable slap shot on the powerplay.

Another powerplay opportunity was profitable for Belfast when Ben Lake scored to level the game.

In the final minute of the second period Devils regained the lead when Stephen Dixon netted.

The special team scoring of the Devils extended the lead to two goals when Brody Reid netted a powerplay goal.

Tyler So pulled one back for Belfast with 11 minutes remaining, before Giants gambled by pulling their netminder for the extra attacker, all to no avail as Devils hit them with two empty net goals to secure a third play-off victory in a row.

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