The Stena Line Belfast Giants fell in the Continental Cup Final to Arlan Kokshetau after penalty shots at The SSE Arena. Down 2-0 with 13 minutes remaining, the Giants produced a dramatic fightback to pull the Final into overtime and a shootout. Yevgeni Gasnikov scored the winning penalty shot to deliver Arlan’s first ever European title and leave Belfast hearts broken.
Despite defeat, the Giants collect their first ever medal in European competition with a silver after a second place finish. Sunday’s earlier game saw GKS Katowice of Poland defeat Belarus’ HK Gomel 5-0 to secure the Bronze Medal.
The Giants picked up two awards with Tyler Beskorowany named netminder of the tournament and Darcy Murphy named forward of the tournament.
Arlan Double Stuns Giants
Despite early Belfast pressure, it was Arlan who would open the scoring in this Continental Cup decider when Sergei Yegorov deflected Alexander Nesterov’s shot from the blueline at 11:51.
Vadim Yermolayev doubled Arlan’s lead at 18:08 when his effort squeezed into the Giants goal.
Giants Unable To Find A Way Past Arlan
Belfast found the going tough in the middle period with Arlan proving difficult to breakdown. The Giants outshot their opponents in the second period though Ivan Poloshkov was in fine form in goal.
Late Drama From Giants
The Giants took the initiative in the early stages of the final period and, at 47:44, the hosts got their reward when Chris Higgins pounced on the rebound following Kyle Baun’s effort.
The Giants piled on the pressure and Dustin Johner scored a dramatic equaliser at 48:58 to send the 5,000+ crowd wild in Belfast.
The hosts impressively killed off a late 5-on-3 Arlan powerplay to drag the final into overtime
Arlan Win In Sudden Death
The Giants were yet again called to penalty kill duty in overtime and Tyler Beskorwany as well as the Belfast defence stood firm to deny Arlan.
Into the shootout and despite Dustin Johner’s equaliser after Yevgeni Gasnikov’s strike, the Kazakstan side took victory when Gasnikov netted in sudden death.
Stena Line Belfast Giants 2-3 Arlan Kokshetau (Kazakstan) After Penalty Shots
Giants Man of the Match
#34 Tyler Beskorowany
The Giants return to domestic action next weekend with a double header in Cardiff on Saturday and Sunday. Next at home for the Giants is back-to-back games in Belfast against the Fife Flyers on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th January.
Tickets are available from the Arena Box Office in person or by calling (028) 9073 9074 as well as online from ticketmaster.ie.