Adam Keefe believes Giants can see off Panthers in final showdown

Adam Keefe
Adam Keefe

Belfast Giants captain Adam Keefe has a simple philosophy going into Tuesday night’s Challenge Cup final second leg at the Nottingham Panthers.

Keefe intends to make a fast start to pile the pressure on the Giants opponents in a quest for more silverware.

“Win a period. That’s how we approached the first game and as long as we win a period, then the next one and keep going then we’ll win the game,” he said.

“That’s all we have to do and not worry about the aggregate score. Just win the hockey game.”

It’s how the Giants have readied themselves for every game this season and last Friday night in the first leg at the Odyssey Arena they won the first period 2-0, the second 3-2 and with the third period finishing goalless they won the game 5-2 and will look to protect and increase that advantage tonight.

The Giants lost only nine games in their regular season campaign and two of those were in Nottingham but last month they visited the National Ice Centre and came away with a double-header sweep.

“We’ve been pretty good on the road all year and guys are confident.

“Right now, even if we get down a goal or two everyone stays calm and we find a way to get back into the game.”

The Panthers won’t lie down and accept defeat especially in a competition they’ve won five of the last six seasons including a current run of four in a row.

One way they could find a way back into the final would be to goad the Giants into taking silly penalties and then capitalise on the powerplay.

However, despite trying that tactic last Friday the Giants remained disciplined in the face of some aggressive and in one case dirty hits that saw forward Evan Cheverie miss the league meeting on Saturday with bruising to the side of his face.

Nottingham will have to open the game up and the question is can the Giants respond and seize the opportunities when they arise.

If they can they’ll secure the third trophy of the season with the play-offs to come and the chance of an unprecedented Grand Slam.