A double from forward Ciaran Long and a third period powerplay goal from Greg Printz, along with 26 saves from Tyler Beskorowany, earned the Giants their third win of the campaign but unfortunately it would not be enough to break into the top-16 of the standings and reach the next stage.
A sustained period of early pressure from the Giants saw them pepper Milan Kloucek - 29 saves - with shots as Jeff Baum walked into the left circle and let one rip, Long then shot on the turn and Oliver Cooper tipped a shot on goal but the Czech netminder was equal to all the home side had to offer.
But it would be Pardubice who would pull ahead at 8:26 through a lovely move as Dominik Pavlata found defenceman Jan Kostalek in the right circle and his bullet pass across goal set up Martin Kaut for the tap-in with Beskorowany beaten. (0-1)
And the visitors would double their lead at 12:58 through Jan Kolar, the defenceman lining up the shot from the point and firing through traffic and past an unsighted Beskorowany (0-2), but just 34 seconds later the Giants would get on the board through Long, who was found in the right circle by Matt McLeod and lasered a wrist shot low into the bottom corner. (1-2)
The Giants had plenty of chances to tie it up before the first intermission as Kloucek made a superb save to deny Davy Phillips off Ara Nazarian’s cross-crease feed, Ben Lake hit the post on the rush and then the visitors were able to play out a late high-sticking call against Patrik Poulicek.
A bad giveaway in front of goal presented Jan Mandat with a huge chance to add to Pardubice’s lead as he skated in on Beskorowany, but the forward could only fire over the net, while the best chance of a Jacob Friend cross-checking penalty fell short-handed to Nazarian on the shorthanded breakaway with Printz, but his shot was deflected over.
Belfast were unable to connect on their second powerplay of the game as Pardubice were caught with too many men on the ice and then Beskorowany made a phenomenal save to keep it a one-goal game as he stretched out a pad to deny Poulicek on the breakaway, before another outstanding save denied Tomas Kaut.
In between that Mark Cooper had nearly tied things up when he was sent in on Kloucek but failed to hit the target, and Nazarian had a glorious chance to equalise when Printz found him all alone in front of goal but he flicked his shot wide of the net.
Another too many men call against Pardubice led to another powerplay opportunity for the Giants and they nearly took advantage as a shot to the crease was tipped on goal by Lake but Kloucek managed to bat it away but, on their second powerplay of the period, they finally clicked.
Pardubice forward Daniel Hercik was called for holding on Quinn Preston, the game was tied up by Printz as he tapped in Nazarian’s pass to the back post at 50:04 (2-2) and then Long’s pass aimed for the back door was deflected in off a visiting skate to put the home side ahead for the first time at 50:47. (3-2)
Pardubice, as expected, had a pushback and applied plenty of pressure during a Johnny Curran tripping penalty before Beskorowany once again had to make an incredible save to deny defenceman Kostalek as he found himself advanced well up the ice into the right circle, but the Giants would hold on for another memorable European win on home ice.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants return to Elite League action with a trip to the Coventry Blaze on Saturday before returning to home ice on Sunday to conclude their Challenge Cup group campaign against the Glasgow Clan. Tickets are on sale HERE!