Coventry's Dan Carlson hung up his skates after their quarter-final defeat
Belfast Giants needed penalties to reach the semi-finals of the Elite League play-offs as they finally saw off Coventry Blaze 4-3 on aggregate.
After a 2-2 quarter-final first leg draw in Northern Ireland, they drew 1-1 at the Skydome in Sunday's return.
Jeff Mason then scored the only goal of the shoot-out to make the last four and this Saturday's date with Nottingham.
"It's a sour way to lose. We gave what we had but it wasn't good enough," said Blaze coach Paul Thompson.
"We've got to go back and plan for next year. I've got a busy job this summer."
"To have come so close," he told BBC Coventry & Warwkickshire. "I'd rather have been beaten 5-0 in Belfast and lost 5-1 tonight."
Following Saturday night's stalemate in Belfast, Russ Cowley put Blaze ahead in the opening period at the Skydome.
Dan Welch levelled the tie in the second, but neither side could add to their tally, even with the additional overtime minutes.
Mason netted with his first shot of the shoot-out and Welch and Craig Peacock were unable to add to add to it for the Giants.
But it mattered little in the end as Greg Owen, Luke Fulghum and Greg Chambers all failed to find the net for Coventry, whose season is now over.
American Dan Carlson played his last game for the club, the 32-year-old former Coventry captain having hung up his skates following their defeat.