EPL title winners and current playoff holders Manchester beat Swindon Wildcats 4-3 in overtime whilst the Cup Holders, Basingstoke Bison, eased past Guildford Flames 5-2.
In front of a sell out at the Coventry SkyDome, Phoenix and Swindon went toe to toe in a real classic.
After a bright opening, Andy Mckinney broke the deadlock thanks to great work from Michal Psurny and Coach of the Year Tony Hand (8.55).
Swindon replied within two minutes through Sam Smith (11:12) and then took the lead just before the half hour mark.
Aaron Nell latched on to Jonas Hoog and Jan Kostal’s feed (28:34) with Phoenix’ Frantisek Bakrlik in the box for Roughing.
Psurny clocked his 49th of the season to level matters (30:41) but Hoog ensured it was advantage Swindon with a cooly taken goal on 31:28.
Phoenix outshot the Wildcats in the second period, but the third was more even and it took until the 48th minute for the next goal.
McKinney got his second (48:02) and then both Stephen Fone and Stevie Lyle pulled off some wonderful saves to ensure the game would head into overtime.
Manchester had the upper hand in the extra period as they piled on the pressure and they smelt a breakthrough when Aku Pekkarinen was sent to the bin for Hooking (62:32).
It looked a questionable call but Phoenix didn’t complain scoring the winner through Bakrlik with 61 seconds left in the match.
Basingstoke’s passage to the final was sealed with three goals in eight second period minutes.
The EPL Cup holders doused the Flames after it was tied one apiece at the end of the first.
Bison sharpshooter Tomas Karpov opened the scoring when Andrew Melachrino fed him the puck on 11:50.
Marcus Kristofferson replied for the Flames on 14:07 but Basingstoke flipped the match on its head in the second period.
Firstly, Nicky Chinn profited from Karpov to give his side the lead (23:57), then Miroslav Vantroba made it 3-1 in the 28th minute.
And when Joe Rand popped up from Cameron Wynn’s feed on 31:43 it really was game over.
Guildford rallied in the third when Branislav Kvetan gave them a fighting chance in the 53rd minute but Joe Greener made the game safe just over two minutes before the end of the match with a cooly taken goal.
Phoenix and Bison have played each other six times this season – split three apiece – ensuring Sunday’s final will be a cracker.
Manchester Phoenix v Swindon Wildcats
Manchester: Mckinney 2+1; Psurny 1+1; Hand 0+2; Bakrlik 1+0; Archer 0+1; Kovar 0+1
Swindon: Hoog 1+1; Smith 1+0; Nell 1+0; Taylor 0+1; Kostal 0+1; Watt 0+1; Moore 0+1
Basingstoke Bison v Guildford Flames
Basingstoke: Vantroba 1+0; Chinn 1+1; Karpov 1+1; Rand 1+0; Long 0+1; Greener 1+0