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2009-10 Season

2009-10 season

The 2009-10 race went down to the final week of the season before Coventry Blaze won their fourth Elite League title in seven years.

Nottingham Panthers pushed the Blaze and Belfast all the way but dropped out of the title race when Coventry beat Edinburgh Capitals on the Thursday before the final weekend of the regular season.

It left only the Blaze and the Giants in the title race and, if Coventry lost in Edinburgh on the Saturday, a final-day winner-takes-all title-decider beckoned in the Skydome on the Sunday.

Despite taking a two-goal lead, Coventry were 3-2 down going into the final minute of their game at Edinburgh. Adam Calder levelled the score with 28 seconds to go and then completed his hat-trick in overtime to seal the title.

Belfast's 6-1 victory over Newcastle Vipers was in vain, as was their 6-4 victory in the Skydome the next night, as Coventry won the title by a point.

Panthers beat Cardiff Devils to win the Challenge Cup for the second time in three years. Corey Neilson's side won the first leg 4-2 in Cardiff for a two-goal advantage going into the second leg at the National Ice Centre. The Devils fought hard and won 5-4 on the night but Panthers lifted the trophy with an 8-7 aggregate victory.

The 2010 play-off finals weekend was contested by Belfast, Cardiff, Coventry and Nottingham and the Devils saw off the Blaze (6-3) in the first semi-final.

Panthers and Giants were more evenly matched and a late Jade Galbraith goal sent the game to overtime and then a penalty shoot-out, Jeff Szwez scored the winning penalty to send Belfast through.

The final also went to a shootout. Cardiff hit back from 2-0 down to tie the game at 2-2 - two goals from Max Birbraer replying to earlier strikes from Brandon Benedict and George Awada.

Evan Cheverie was Belfast's hero with the winning penalty shot as the Giants won the play-offs for the first time in the Elite League era.

Tags: 2009-10 season

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