When the Belfast Giants went 6-2 on their eight-game road trip in November, they returned home knowing nine of the next 11 games were at home at the Odyssey Arena.
They won eight of those nine, and 10 of the 11, and have built a 13-point lead at the top of the Elite League standings.
Now they head back out on the road again for the next two weekends looking to consolidate that advantage.
It’s a tough couple of venues to visit with a resurgent Sheffield Steelers side lying in wait on Saturday night followed by a long trip north to take on the Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday.
The Giants have beaten the Steelers in three of their four meetings this season including a 4-2 victory the last time they clashed in Sheffield.
Giants coach Paul Adey admits that this weekend’s games are vital for his team’s title charge. “It seems like right now they’re all big games. Going into Sheffield is never an easy game and they’ll want to pick up some points against us and they’re going to come at us pretty hard to start the game.”
When the Giants last visited the Murrayfield Ice Rink they lost 5-3 to the Edinburgh Capitals.
“We outplayed and outshot them in that game but it happens sometimes that a goalie plays well and he helped them steal that one so we know they can be dangerous and we’ll need to be ready for that game,” continued Adey.
There are only 19 games remaining in the league for the Giants and Adey’s Giants are closing in on the title but no one in the locker room is thinking beyond this weekend and the coach is happy with the team’s morale as they begin to enter the business end of the season.
“Very positive of course, when you’re winning and playing well everybody’s happy. The guys are playing hard and creating good scoring chances.”
Meanwhile, the build-up to Rob Stewart’s Testimonial Game on Tuesday, February 18 continues and it’s shaping up to be an evening were old friendships will be renewed. Stewart has announced the beginnings to his All-Star roster, with Paxton Schulte, Kevin Riehl, Steve Thornton and former coach Dave Whistle all returning for the big game.