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Glasgow Clan 3 Belfast Giants 2 (After penalty shots)
Chad Rau was the hero of the night, scoring the two goals and the winning penalty shot to secure a second-place finish in the Challenge Cup after overcoming holders Belfast Giants.
It was a tightly fought contest and much different from the game that saw Clan lose 6-1 in Northern Ireland last month as Clan extended their winning run to seven.
The first period provided an entertaining spectacle, but with both goalies on top form, the puck couldn’t find its way into either net.
A Nolan LaPorte chance from the inside left saw Belfast’s netminder Shane Owen stand up to it as it hit his logo and he plunged to make the cover, with Clan players hoping for a rebound.
Jesse Forsberg forced a good save out of Patrick Killeen up the other when he jinked in and out to create enough space, but the Clan goalie was in no mood to allow a successful finish.
Killeen was called upon again minutes later as Ben Lake drifted into the centre and the Clan custodian was in the right place to deny the former Coventry man and keep the home goal unblemished.
Clan thought they were taking the lead early in the second period when Mikael Lidhammar executed a good move and finish, but the goal had moved before the killer shot.
The home side went close again shortly after as Nolan LaPorte from the left face off circle, but Owen was more than equal to it, making a key save.
Killeen performed heroics again when he did brilliantly to deny Liam Morgan then the follow up effort from Lewis Hook look destined for the net, with the Clan goalie again on top form to make th save.
The goal was finally breached five minutes into the third period as Chad Rau was credited with the final touch in front of goal to put Belfast’s hopes of continuing their defence of this tournament in jeopardy.
Giants hit back from Patrik Wronka shortly after to breathe new life into the game as the intensity levels increased.
But Rau came good again with his second, taking a Nolan LaPorte pass and burying it past Shane Owen to restore the home lead.
Belfast left it late to keep their interest in the tournament going as Liam Reddox struck with 17 seconds to go and the game was tied and destined for overtime.
It took penalty shots to decide the contest and Rau was the man to deliver it, beating Owen with a low shot and the Clan were the victors.
Both sides will go at it again tomorrow as they contest league points.