Sunday sees the Stena Line Belfast Giants clash with the Guildford Flames in the 2018/19 Challenge Cup Final at The Viola Arena, Cardiff – face-off 4pm.
The big game promises to be a special occasion with around 800 Belfast fans set to turn Cardiff teal on Sunday as the Giants go into their second successive Challenge Cup Final. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online here while fans can watch live online thanks to Ice Time TV.
We want to see your Cup Final posts on social media! Wishing the team luck, sending a special message or posting updates as you make your way to Cardiff. Make sure to use #WeAreGiants when posting on facebook, twitter, instagram etc. and we will be sharing lots all weekend!
The six game series this season to date between the two sides has seen the Giants with the upper hand. The Giants have won twice in Guildford so far this season, with their only defeat on the road against the Flames coming back in October.
Important to note that half of this season’s games have been decided by one goal with one of the games in Belfast going to overtime.
Darcy Murphy and Blair Riley are the Giants scoring leaders so far this season. Murphy has 33 goals and 31 assists in 50 games with Riley posting 30 goals and 29 assists in 52 games.
For the Flames, both Kruise Reddick and John Dunbar lead the way with 62 points and 53 points respectively with Ian Watters leading the goal scoring with 25.
The Giants Road To Cardiff
Having made it to the final in 2018 for the first time since 2014 – the Giants appear in back-to-back finals for the first time since 2010/11 and 2011/12, losing on both occasions to the Nottingham Panthers over two legs.
Belfast improved on their record in 2017/18 – clinching top spot in Group B with five wins and a regulation loss, giving ten points and a place in the Quarter Finals.
With the league’s knockout format – the Giants chose to face the Dundee Stars and, after an emphatic 8-0 1st Leg win on the road, the Giants made sure of their place in the Semi-Finals with a 4-2 2nd Leg win in Belfast.
Into the Semi-Final and the Giants would face the Glasgow Clan in the Challenge Cup. The 1st Leg was in Scotland and saw the home side take a 2-1 lead into the deciding game. The 2nd Leg saw an impressive Giants comeback to win 7-5 on aggregate to seal their place in the Final.
The Devils’ route to a fourth straight final came with a second place finish in Group C, a 9-5 Quarter Final win over the Guildford Flames before a Semi-Final win against the Sheffield Steelers with the Welsh side clawing their way back from a 6-2 1st Leg defeat to win 7-1 in a famous 2nd Leg on home ice.
Giants Challenge Cup Final History
The Giants have had mixed fortunes in the Challenge Cup’s showpiece occasion. The Belfast side have fallen in four finals – first on home ice in the 2002 final vs Ayr Scottish Eagles and then against the Nottingham Panthers on three separate occasions inside four seasons – 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2013/14.
However the Giants won the Challenge Cup on two previous occasions. First up was the 2008/09 version, defeating the Manchester Phoenix 6-5 on aggregate. Manchester won the 1st Leg 4-3 at home, however the Giants came back spectacularly with a 3-1 win at home to lift the trophy for the first time in history.
The Giants second victory in the Challenge Cup was last season, defeating the Cardiff Devils 6-3 in a one-off final as the Belfast side impressed in Wales.
Goals from Benedict, Kurtz, Murphy and a double from Ferland (x2) gave the Giants a famous victory. The Giants traveling fans made Ice Arena Wales a neutral venue with their support all game long and they witnessed a famous night in the organisation’s history as the Giants won their ninth major championship.