EIHL Challenge Cup semi finals match ups set

EIHL Challenge Cup semi finals match ups set

11 Jan 2018 | Ollie Hampson

Only four teams remain in the EIHLs Challenge Cup, with the Belfast Giants, Cardiff Devils, Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers all looking to book their place in the final.


Last years winners, the Cardiff Devils, will be looking to avoid missing out on their own final when it's hosted in Ice Arena Wales on March 4th.

In order for the Devils to make the final, they'll have to go through the Sheffield Steelers, in a rematch of last years finals where the South Wales side took a narrow 3 - 2 victory over Paul Thompson's Sheffield Steelers side, to claim their second Challenge Cup trophy in three years.

Sheffield have featured in two out of the last 3 Challenge Cup finals, losing both meetings to the Devils.

Since the formation of the EIHL in 2003, Sheffield have failed to win the Challenge Cup in six appearances in the final, while the Devils have skated away with the trophy in three of their five apperances.

Also looking to book their trip to Cardiff in March will be the Belfast Giants and Nottingham Panthers, with Nottingham looking to add to their record of 8 Challenge Cup finals wins, that included a historic run of five straight between the 2009/10 season and 2013/14 season.

Belfast are the only team in the final four who haven't reached the finals since the league adopted the single game final system in the 2014/15 season.
Belfast last appeared in the finals in the last game of the old two-game system, where after a 6 - 6 tie on aggregate, they narrowly missed out on the trophy thanks to a shootout win for Nottingham to claim their fifth straight win.

Both semi-finals should be close contests, with each team having their own right to be considered favourites to go all the way.

All of the final four have faced their semi-final opponents on four occasions this year, with the Devils holding the edge over Sheffield with three out of four wins on offer, and Nottingham holding three out of four wins over the Belfast Giants.

Cardiff had to go through the Guildford Flames to book their place in the final four. After a 3 - 3 tie following the first game, Cardiff really turned up the heat in the second leg, coming away with a 6 - 2 win on the night, and a 9 - 5 win over the two games to book their place in the final four.

Sheffield eased their way to their meeting with the Devils, brushing aside the Dundee Stars in big back to back wins, taking a 7 - 2 win in the first leg, and a 6 - 1 win in game two.

The Nottingham Panthers overturned a first leg defeat as the Milton Keynes Lightning skated away with a 2 - 1 win after the first game, but Nottingham really turned things around in game two with a massive 6 - 2 win to make it a 7 - 3 aggregate win for Corey Nielson's men.

Belfast had a very similar run in like the Cardiff Devils. After game one, the Giants were tied at 3 with the Fife Flyers, but in their second game they stormed away with a big 7 - 0 win over Fife to book their place in the final four.

As the higher seeds in the semi-finals, Sheffield and Belfast will be able to decide if they play home or away first, with the game dates to be announced shortly.

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