The Belgian men’s EHL qualifiers were confirmed on Sunday as Waterloo Ducks caused a big surprise against Royal Léopold to reach the grand final against Gantoise after their two-legged semi-finals.
It means Waterloo and Gantoise are confirmed in the EHL next season with the winner of their final taking a FINAL8 spot and the other going to the KO16. Léopold will also be in the KO16 as regular season champions.
On Saturday, Waterloo won 4-3 with Victor Charlet netting a hat trick as his side came back from 3-2 down in the closing quarter to take a narrow lead into game two in Brussels on Sunday.
There, Léo took the lead through gaspard Baumgarten but a Charlet corner tied things up before Jeremy Wilbers’ controversial backhand effort put the Ducks in front in the tie.
Another Charlet corner made it 7-4 on aggregate, putting them out of reach despite a powerful Arthur Verdussen goal.
For William Ghislain, it was a euphoric victory for the club as they got the best of the runaway regular season winners, telling Le Soir: “We have beaten the best team in the championship twice. We weren’t favorites but we put our heart into these performances.
“We defended well and we were very realistic from the penalty corner. We are in the final and, it must be admitted, that we had some doubts, at the start of the season about our ability to achieve this with a young team.”
Gantoise, meanwhile, ran up a brilliant 5-0 win on Saturday against KHC Dragons to put themselves out of reach. The second leg was much closer but the Ghent club was always in control on aggregate in a physical encounter.
It ended 3-2 to Dragons but they never threatened to wipe out the five-goal deficit.
The two-leg final will be played next Saturday and Sunday.