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Giants into Semi-Finals after dramatic shootout win

Photo: William Cherry

JJ Piccinich scored the winning penalty shot in round ten of the shootout to edge Belfast Giants into the Premier Sports Playoff Finals Weekend over a gallant Coventry Blaze at the SSE Arena.

After a scoreless opening period where the Giants just couldn't find the final touch to beat CJ Motte in the Blaze net, the hosts went ahead through Tyler Soy whose straightforward throw on net from behind the goal line squeezed through Motte and into the goal.

If Motte's effort was uncharacteristic, so too was Tyler Beskorowany's some two minutes later when Connor Chaulk jammed the puck through the home side's goalie to level the scores.

Both teams had chances on the powerplay to win the game in regulation, but it finished all square after 60 minutes. The same can be said for overtime, although Belfast's pressure in the last 45 seconds was unlucky not to produce a winner.

Only John Curran and David Goodwin scored in the opening five rounds of the shootout, with both of their goals coming in the fifth. Janne Kivilahti then put the Blaze ahead in sudden death, only for Scott Conway to pull an excellent move to keep the Giants level. Kivilahti missed in round ten, and it fell to Piccinich to beat Motte and send Belfast through.

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