Giants have it all to do and need help from others!

Get back on that saddle and start making it team simple

 After an horrific weekend of results the Giants have to face getting back on the saddle – of success.  ‘Keeping it simple’ is a must. The team seems to have dug itself into a hole after chasing the league title. This is the time in the season when coach and captain see what the players they signed are capable of and how they step up to the plate.

Elite Ice Hockey League - Belfast Giants v Cardiff Devils

Giants fans expect better from players on the ice. Who is going to step up a lead the team to trophies? 

There has been no trophy so far this season, nor for the last two for that matter. The Giants have an outside chance if things fall their way, of lifting the Elite League Trophy and if they are extremely fortunate.

 A plus factor is that the Giants are relatively injury free for the run up to the playoffs. They can assemble their best grouping or lines of player combinations to practice what they did best in the several good winning runs they had this season. They can also establish which players played well together and may be in consideration for a new contract next season.

On paper the Giants are a very skilled outfit and have the ability to execute well if they keep it simple as a team. The following comments from both captain and coach are have both meaning and substance.

Elite Ice Hockey League - Belfast Giants v Braehead Clan

Adam Keefe (47) on the attack for the Giants

Captain of the Stena Line Belfast Giants Adam Keefe has stated that they must  “Get ‘back to basics’ for Saturday’s home clash with the Fife Flyers”. The Giants now lie in third place in the Elite League and are seven points behind the Cardiff Devils with nine games still to play.

Elite Hockey League - Belfast Giants v Braehead Clan

 

Adam Keefe (47) pressing hard towards to net

Keefe continued “The past few weeks have proved to be a tough period for the Giants rounded off with defeats to the Cardiff Devils. We need to get back to the way we were playing in December”, said Keefe. “Back then we were playing with confidence and we need to get that good feeling in the dressing room which we have lost over the past few weeks.

Adam Keefe (47) in a tussleAdam Keefe (47) getting physical plus playing a gritty game 

We want to focus on doing the little things right and get back to playing fast paced hockey, playing physical and smothering teams, the way teams have done to us in the last few weeks.”

With just nine games left in the regular season for the Giants Keefe knows the importance of momentum with Belfast needing to collect as many points as possible in order to compete with the Cardiff Devils down the stretch, starting Saturday night against Fife at Belfast’s SSE Arena.

Adam Keefe #2 2

Belfast Captain Adam Keefe (47) demanding more from the Giants squad

Keefe went on to comment, “Unfortunately we have handed Cardiff the title ‘to lose’ so to speak. It is out of our hands – all we can do is win all our games. For us, we are focusing on Fife and we want to revenge that big lopsided defeat in Fife.

Adam KeefeAdam Keefe (47) says give the fans something to cheer about like winning a trophy 

We know they can play – they play hard and physical. They can put the puck in the back of the net. We are going to have to be on top of our game on Saturday. This week is about hard work and getting back to the basics.”

DerrickWalserPlayer Coach for the Belfast Giants Derrick Walser (43)

Those were the Captain’s thoughts on the Giants’ run up to the close of the Elite League regular season play. Meanwhile Coach Derrick Walser also had a say: “I want the team to redeem themselves on Saturday at home against the Fife Flyers.

 Elite Ice Hockey League - Belfast Giants v Cardiff Devils

Derrick Walser (43) working the puck agaist the Devils

Despite the two losses to the Cardiff Devils who are the best team in the league and played really well. We had opportunities to win both games. We made some critical mistakes but we are looking at how we can fix those and how to come back from that.

Derek Walser (43) against Fife

 

Derrick Walser (43) demanding his players do better against Fife this time out 

It’s not easy when you have had a tough weekend like we just had (against Cardiff)” said Walser. “We’ve had a great year until now – our record speaks for itself. We had a little bump in the road. It’s not over but right now we need to fix a few issues and get back to winning ways.”

Belfast sits in third position in the Elite League standings, seven points behind the Devils having played the same number of games. A win on Saturday would get the Belfast side back on track.

The Giants returned to the ice on Tuesday to begin a week’s worth of practice ahead of Saturday’s home game against Fife and want to return to winning ways as soon as possible.

Derrick Walser (43) against NottinghamDerrick Walser (43) making the puck do things his way against the Panthers 

Walser continued, “Right now we are being positive and looking to get back on track. We want to come out, play our game again and make sure we are firing on all cylinders”. He wants a better performance from all his players on Saturday at the SSE Arena. “I want us to redeem ourselves and play the right way – a much tougher and grittier game.”

With some of the Giants’ import players on a two-year contract it may make the choice of a new squad for next season’s lineup difficult at this point. However it also gives the current line-up a chance to catch the eye of both coach and management in the remaining games of the regular season and playoffs to secure a place for 2017-2018.

There is all to play for, on several fronts in the remaining games – win or lose.

Wayne Hardman Sports Reporter

Written by Wayne Hardman

 

   
GP Regulation OT/PS OT/PS Regulation PTS Current
Wins Wins Losses Losses Streak
Cardiff*

43

26

6

3

8

67

1 loss
Sheffield*

43

25

4

3

11

61

4 wins
Belfast*

43

23

5

4

11

60

3 losses
Nottingham

41

18

3

6

14

48

1 win
Braehead

43

21

1

3

18

47

4 wins
Fife

43

16

4

3

20

43

3 losses
Manchester

42

15

1

6

20

38

3 losses
Coventry

45

12

5

3

25

37

2 wins
Dundee

43

11

4

6

22

36

2 wins
Edinburgh

42

9

5

1

27

29

2 losses

 

*Qualified for Play-Offs (top 8 qualify)

 

 Gardiner Conference Standings 2016-2017
After games of 19/2/17
GP Regulation OT/PS OT/PS Regulation PTS Current
Wins Wins Losses Losses Streak
Braehead

26

19

0

1

6

39

3 wins

Manchester

27

11

1

3

12

27

1 loss

Dundee

25

9

3

3

10

27

2 wins

Fife

27

10

1

3

13

25

6 losses

Edinburgh

25

6

5

0

14

22

1 win

 

 

 Erhardt Conference Standings 2016-2017
After games of 21/2/17
GP Regulation OT/PS OT/PS Regulation PTS Current
Wins Wins Losses Losses Streak
Cardiff

27

15

3

3

6

39

1 loss

Belfast

25

11

4

2

8

32

2 losses

Nottingham

27

11

2

4

10

30

1 win

Sheffield

25

12

1

2

10

28

1 loss

Coventry

28

3

4

3

18

17

1 win

 

 

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