Belfast Giants’ Ruopp stays focused on silverware quest
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“As a team we still have a lot on the line,” he said. “And that’s still the case for a number of the other teams in the league too.
“In the league its a very tight race, there are the four teams who are all within points of each other.
“As a team were are taking it one game at a time and focusing on getting marginally better each game. Ultimately, if we do that, it will compound into success at the end of the season.”
While last weekend’s defeat at home at the hands of the Coventry Blaze was not something that the Giants had been hoping for, but their challenge for all three trophies remains on track.
That’s especially the case after the Guildford Flames also fell 2-3 to the Blaze on Wednesday night down in Guildford.
Ruopp remarked: “It has been our goal the whole season to win all three trophies which are on offer.
“We have put ourselves in the best possible situation to gain all three. Fortunately, Fife played really well and put the Sheffield Steelers out of the Challenge Cup, that was great for us but we couldn't and didn't take them lightly.
“The Challenge Cup final was like any other game. It didn't matter who were were playing.
“We had to prepare ourselves in the best way that we could and to go into that game with a winning mindset.”
Ruopp added that when the news came through that the Flyers had put the Steelers out it was pretty pleasing.
He said: “Statistically, when you look at the standings, Fife had struggled this season for gaining wins, so it had been expected that the Steelers who qualify for the final.
“It came as a bit of a surprise when they Steelers, especially in the second leg at the Utilita Arena.
“But full credit to them, they are a good team. While we have had great success against them this season we still had to prepare ourselves to face them in the final, as it has been throughout this season, any team can beat any other team on any night.”
It has been a busy couple of months for Ruopp. In February during the international break Ruopp was one of the four Giants who were called in to the GB squad for the Euro Challenge games.
“It was my first team to be called into the GB squad,” explained Ruopp.
“It is also the first year that I have qualified to play for GB, you have to have two years in the league.
“It was an amazing experience and I had a tonne of fun. I was both extremely proud and honoured to be selected to play for Team GB.”
When he moved to Belfast last season one of the draws, admits Ruopp, was the opportunity to be called into the GB line-up.
He said: “When I first spoke to Keefer and Steve, they had mentioned that you had to play two seasons in the league to qualify. So it was on my mind when I signed, it was something that I was striving for. Luckily I got the opportunity to showcase myself and I was very fortunate to get a chance to wear the Team GB jersey. Playing for the UK was something that my family, my mom, my grandparents and all that side of the family who are from England, are very proud to be now able to say that I have played for GB.”