Gantoise do incredible Belgian double

Gantoise did a Belgian championship double for the first time as the men won the title for the first since 1921 and the women came back to make it three titles in a row.

For the men, they built a 3-0 lead against Waterloo Ducks in the first leg on Saturday via Etienne Tynevez, Charles Masson and Guillaume Hellin.

With the strong lead, they saw out the success on Sunday in a 2-2 draw, an early Emile Esquelin goal stretching their advantage out to four goals in the first quarter. 

The WatDucks did get one back via Gaëtan Dykmans in Q2 but Gantoise were able to remain three clear and sealed the deal when Timothée Clément made it 2-1.

Dyckmans equalised but it did not affect the overall outcome.

“It’s fabulous to have won this title,” coach Pascal Kina said afterwards to Le Soir. “It’s all the more magical that we managed the double with the women. 

“The club has been patiently preparing for this for seven years. We grew over the years and we carefully chose the players who could help us win the championship. I’ve said it many times over the past few weeks. But I’m so proud of this group. The team is extremely tight-knit.”

On the women’s side, KHC Dragons won the first leg 2-1 with first half goals from Stéphanie de Groof and Valerie Magis putting the Brasschaat hosts in a good position.

And that lead was augmented in the sixth minute of the second leg via an Abigail Raye penalty corner corner effort.

Gantoise’s comeback started with 20 minutes to go when Ambre Ballenghien was on the mark and then Berta Bonastre – in the final match of her career – equalised with two minutes to go.

It sent the game to a shoot-out with Ballenghien and Alix Gerniers scoring the vita efforts in a 2-1 success.

Bonastre to La Libre: “A victory like that, it’s incredible. Their defence was super-strong and our final goal only arrived a few minutes before the end. We just had to fight to the end; never give up, never give up. Everyone from the team was all the time encouraging each other and that paid off in the end.”

Both Gantoise sides will now play in next Easter’s EHL FINAL8 with Waterloo Ducks and Royal Léopold going to the men’s KO16. KHC Dragons will be in the women’s EuroHockey Trophy.