Keefe praises ‘reponse’ as young Belfast Giants ‘still learning’
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Last weekend the Giants opened their Challenge Cup campaign by securing all four points on offer in back-to-back games against the Dundee Stars, despite a five-minute lapse against the Stars in Dundee.
While the opening period in the encounter at the SSE Arena against the Stars last Friday was somewhat flat, the second and third periods were much better with the Giants closing out the game 4-1.
Captain Mark Cooper opened the scoring at 21.06. Ara Nazarian doubled the scoreline at 33.46 before the Stars pulled one back at 38.21 courtesy of Johnny Walker.
At 46.15 man of the match Ciaran Long made it 3-1. And with mere seconds left in the game Quinn Preston made it 4-1 when he slotted home an empty net goal.
On Saturday after the first five minutes it looked like the Giants’ new season had hit a brick wall when the Stars leapt into a 2-0 lead.
Head coach Adam Keefe’s timeout at 5.55 and plenty of choice words for his squad did the trick as they went on to close out the game 2-6.
Nazarian got the Giants onto the scoresheet at 6.11, while in the second period Ben Lake levelled the scoreline at 36.05 with assists from Mark Cooper and Miles Gendron.
The final period was all Giants as the Stars began to lag. First to score was Jacob Friend at 42.54 before Preston stepped up to seal a brace at 46.59 and 51.54.
Tedesco scored the Giants’ sixth goal, and probably the best of the game, at 55.35 to complete the comeback.
A delighted Keefe said: “That was a great response from the guys. Certainly we didn’t want to give up those two early goals.
“We knew coming into Dundee that they were going have a response to our win last night. Tonight’s win was a character comeback.
“In the third period we slowed Dundee’s hopes with solid play in the offensive zone.
"That’s what we want to do, if we do that we control the game. There were are a few key points that we need to take in.
"Besko has some big saves which helped to keep us in the game,” he added.
"We are still a young team in terms of the change over in personnel. We are still learning to win in different ways.”