ICE HOCKEY: Belfast Giants have must win weekend

Belfast Giants' Adam Keefe with Sheffield Steelers' Zack Fitzgerald
Belfast Giants' Adam Keefe with Sheffield Steelers' Zack Fitzgerald
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The Belfast Giants have only four Elite League regular season games remaining, starting with their final two home games in Belfast on Friday night against Sheffield and on Saturday versus Coventry.

Giants captain Adam Keefe and his teammates are gearing up for the crunch point of the season with the team trying to hit top form for the playoffs.

“We want to get back to playing at the top of our potential. We are working towards that though we are not quite there yet with a couple of mistakes here and there.

“We want to gain momentum going into the play-offs and that’s been the focus for the last 2-3 weeks. We need to keep the train rolling.”

The Giants last won the Elite League Playoff trophy in 2010 and Keefe knows the road to a 2017 triumph does not begin when the Play-off Quarter Final takes place in Belfast on Saturday April 1, the preparation starts now.

“The years we won the league trophy, we recognise how difficult it is to get that momentum going into the playoffs when other teams are fighting for playoff positions and they are playing at their best.

“It’s crucial to be playing at a high level - a fast-pace, a playoff-pace going into those playoff games.

“People elevate their game for the play-offs and the pace will be high and we need to make sure we are playing at the highest pace possible come playoff time.”

There are four games remaining and, with the Elite League title currently out of the Giants hands, all the Belfast side can focus on is winning both home games this weekend and hope that the first placed Cardiff Devils drop points.

“We need to get better this week at practice and keep positive on the bench.

“We want to keep rolling and find ways to put pucks in the back of the net.

“We have been doing a good job of that with Shields scoring a hat-trick on Friday and another one from Rutherford on Sunday.”

Guys are finding the net which is great to see.”

With the Elite League truly entering the ‘business end’ of the season, Adam Keefe and his colleagues are aiming to take one game at a time which starts tonight at The SSE Arena against the Sheffield Steelers.

“We cannot look past Sheffield - they are a top side and have been for the past couple of seasons. It’s a huge game for us in order to secure the second place in the league.”

Tickets are on sale now for both Giants home games on Friday and Saturday and are available online via Ticketmaster.ie, all Ticketmaster Outlets, the Arena Box Office in person or over the phone by calling 028 9073 9074.