Over the next week the chase for the Elite League title will reach its halfway point and the Belfast Giants will be sitting in first place and looking strong heading into the second half of the season.
So far, in a league that has more parity than it has ever had between the ten teams, the Giants appear to be the only side that has been able to consistently put together winning streaks and that is why they head into tomorrow night’s game against the Coventry Blaze at the Odyssey Arena with a commanding seven point lead.
A case in point was last weekend. While the likes of Braehead, Nottingham and Sheffield were all dropping points, the Giants took care of their own business with wins over Fife and Sheffield and extended their advantage on all their main challengers.
“I think we’re doing okay right now. We didn’t play great against Fife but we battled away and got the win in overtime but we bounced back and I thought played really well against a very strong Sheffield side and that was one of the better games we’ve played this season,” explained defenceman Cody Brookwell.
No one, of course, is talking about winning title, it’s much too early for that and the busy holiday period coming up sees the Giants travel to Dundee on Sunday, then face two games against Braehead, and then home games against Hull, Nottingham and Dundee.
Despite the lead they’ve worked hard to build up there can be no complacency because things can change very quickly.
“Seven points is a pretty good lead but that can evaporate pretty quickly if we do start taking nights off,” added Brookwell.
“I think it all comes down to preparation, working hard in practice and executing properly on the ice. If we do that we should be okay.”
The Blaze skated away from their only visit to the Odyssey back in September with an impressive 5-0 win but since then the Giants have won three times at the Skydome and the title aspirations of the Blaze have melted away into mid-table mediocrity.
But in this league, on any given night, any team can beat any other and last Sunday the Blaze ripped the Steelers, 24 hours after the Giants had done the same.
Brookwell added: “They have a good team and they have some guys who can score so we need to be prepared but I think when we play our game and we have our guys going and playing the way we can we have an opportunity to win every night.”