The second day of the 2019 Continental Cup Final is now complete, and we now know that it will be a last day shootout to see which team succeeds Yunost Minsk as the latest winners. Two teams are left standing from the final four, and 5:00pm on Sunday night will be a battle for gold and a title. Here’s a recap of the action in Belfast on Saturday.
Game 3: Arlan Kokshetau 8 – 2 HK Gomel
A first period goal blitz paved the way for Kazakhstan champions Arlan Kokshetau to remain unbeaten in the Super Final. Those four goals came in a span of just six and half minutes and left the Belarusian side shell shocked. Ivan Kiselyov opened the scoring at 5:11 and then Dimtri Potiachuk netted his second of the tournament at 7:53; prompting Gomel into a change of netminder. The goals didn’t stop there as Vadim Berdnikov and Alexei Antsiferov also lit the lamp to give Kazakhstanis a 4-0 advantage before the game clock had ticked onto 12 minutes.
Potaichuk scored his second of the game just over five minutes into the middle period before Anton Petrov netted a penalty shot at 26:45 to make it 6-0. An unassisted powerplay marker from Anton Tochilkin got Gomel on the board but Kokshetau would end the second period 7-1 ahead when Alexander Nesterov found the net. Defenceman Stanislav Borovikov made it 8-1 with his second tournament goal but Gomel scored a consolation second just four seconds from the end when Yevgeni Solomonov but they had been comprehensively beaten.
Game 4: Belfast Giants 4 – 2 GKS Katowice
After seeing off HK Gomel in their first game, Belfast fans were expecting a much tougher encounter when they locked horns with GKS Katowice in Saturday’s second game. Katowice had beaten the Giants in the semi-final stage, and this game would be keenly awaited. Just like on Friday, Giants opened the scoring late in the first period when Darcy Murphy found the net but that lead lasted just 14 seconds into the middle period when Jesse Rohtla scored his second of the tourney. It was getting tasty, Katowice’s Jakub Wanacki picking a 2+10 call for boarding whilst the Giants were staying cool.
Murphy’s third of the tournament at 31:14 put Giants 2-1 in front but Katowice levelled matters with just nine seconds left in that period thanks to Janne Laakkonen. It set everything up for a tense third period. The Giants made the perfect start to the period when defenceman Curtis Leonard put them ahead 15 seconds in, and they dominated the period. That dominance got its due reward with 1:08 to go when Dustin Johner added a powerplay insurance marker. Katowice then picked a team penalty for abuse of officials as the red mist descended, Giants kept their discipline.
So it’s Arlan against Belfast for the title and one of these will be celebrating at the end. Can the Giants slay the pre-tournament favourites? The Elite League hopes so. Best of luck Adam Keefe et al.