Belfast Giants put first leg advantage to one side as they meet Devils

Belfast Giants head coach Paul Adey
Belfast Giants head coach Paul Adey

On the face of it the Belfast Giants are going to the Elite League Challenge Cup final.

There can surely be no way for the side that leads the league by nineteen points and dominated the Cardiff Devils all season long to throw away a 7-1 lead from last week’s semi-final first leg at the Odyssey Arena.

It’s improbable at best but the Giants don’t want to show up in the Welsh capital on Wednesday night and go through the motions.

No matter what situation they’ve found themselves in this season they’ve never thrown in the towel because they don’t like to be beaten.

“Overall we’ve been so consistent all year long in the way we’ve prepared for games and then gone out and performed. These guys sure don’t like to lose. Anytime we’ve been down in the third period of a game they’ve come out and usually played their best hockey and that’s the character of our team. We play well under pressure,” explained Coach Paul Adey.

The Giants have won six of the seven league meetings with the Devils.

“We have to treat this as a normal game. It’s still important from the point of view that we don’t want to go in there and sit back because if we do that we could easily ship a few goals. I think we just have to go in there and play the same way we’ve played there all year, play hard and be smart about our game.”

There is a little intrigue to Wednesday’s game with former Giants coach Dave Whistle behind the bench for Cardiff.

Whistle led the Giants for the first three seasons winning a Superleague championship and Play-off title and for fans of the team who have been around from the start he is much beloved.

He’s taken over the reins at Cardiff with current coach Brent Pope fulfilling media duties at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Adey added, “Dave has lots of experience and I would expect a positive response from the Cardiff players. I played against Dave when he was a player and when he became a coach and then I coached against him as well so we have a little bit of history and we have a good relationship. Personally I think it’s a great move for Cardiff.”