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Sunday, 3 March, 2002, 15:00 GMT
Ayr Eagles win Challenge Cup
Ayr Scottish Eagles beat the Belfast Giants at the Odyssey Arena
Ayr celebrate their 5-0 Challenge Cup victory in Belfast

Belfast Giants 0-5 Ayr Scottish Eagles

Underdogs Ayr Scottish Eagles won the Superleague Challenge Cup by a sensational scoreline at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.

Recently-crowned Superleague champions Belfast Giants were hot favourites to complete the double in Sunday's final before a 7,000 sell-out crowd.

But Ayr Scottish Eagles, beaten in last year's final by Sheffield, made no mistake this time by chalking up a memorable triumph.

Ayr had played the Giants eight times earlier in the season, failing to win any.

Another setback

But they stunned the Giants with a double early blow with Rhett Gordon, Ayr's top points scorer in the competition, netting the opener after 162 seconds.

Two minutes late they increased their advantage when a delightful reverse pass by Johan Silfwerplatz found Ed Courtenay with a clear run on goal.

The former National Hockey League forward gratefully accepted the offer to beat Mike Bales and silence the home crowd.

Role reversal

Kevin Riehl had the home fans back on their feet with a solo skate which finished with his shot rebounding off the post.

But the Eagles struck another blow when they grabbed the vital third goal.

Gordon did well behind the net and fed Great Britain international Weaver in front of goal at 27:54.

Incredibly Ayr went 4-0 ahead with three minutes of the second period remaining when in a role reversal of the third goal, Gordon beating Bales from Weaver's assist.

Giants thought they had pulled one back within a minute but referee Simon Kirkham chalked off the goal due to a high-sticking offence from a home player.

Any chance of Belfast producing a miracle comeback were extinguished in the fourth minute of the final period when Dody Wood added a fabulous fifth.

Simon Cross reports for the BBC
"Eagles played a great tactical match"
BBC Grandstand
"We came through in the big game"
BBC NI Grandstand
"They beat us 5-0, that's pretty comprehensive"
Eagles soar to victory
Watch 56k or 256k

See also:

03 Mar 02 |  Northern Ireland
Giants get final boost
28 Feb 02 |  Other Sports
BBC NI brings Geraldine home
28 Feb 02 |  Other Sports
Ayr seek Giants-killing
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