A two-game losing streak may not be the end of the world but the Belfast Giants will need to bring a halt to the run this weekend as they prerpare for a hectic holiday period.
Steve Thornton’s side will be targeting a welcome tonic this weekend, but won’t find it easy against the Hull Stingrays on Saturday night – and especially at the Nottingham Panthers on Sunday.
The injury jinx that has plagued the squad this season shows little sign of relenting, and Thornton has added former Giant Curtis Huppe to the travelling party to bolster numbers with doubts surrounding the fitness of Mark McCutcheon.
Huppe played for the Giants from 2004-2007 – winning an Elite League title – and had spells with Coventry and Hull.
Most recently he was playing for Guildford in the English Premier League before being released.
Huppe has been training with the Giants and now may find himself back on the ice as a member of the team.
“We’ve had a lot of men down and he’s been an extra body in practice and Curtis is now a local guy, he lives here now and wants to stay in shape,” explained Thornton.
“He’s a great guy and has an incredible shot, you can see that in practice and with the injury problems we have it’s good to have another guy available.
“He has a very good work ethic and a great attitude and right now we have a problem finishing. We are involved in a lot of low scoring one-goal games and if we pick up another injury then it’s a much nicer option to have him in the line-up.
“Belfast is close to his heart and we’ll see how things work out.”
Last weekend’s two defeats in Cardiff dropped the Giants to fifth place in the standings, albeit only six points off the lead held by Braehead and Sheffield.
And with six of their next eight games after this weekend at the Odyssey Arena, including four (three home and 1 away) against the leaders, Thornton doesn’t want to lose any more ground.
“Hull played us tough last time and have added to their roster and they’ve played well over the last ten games,” the coach added.
“Every weekend we play now is huge for us because we can’t afford to drop points.
“We’re chasing games right now and we’re not being clinical in front of the net until such times as we’re behind in the game.
“We need to play for the full sixty minutes and the fact we’re not top of the league anymore should create some urgency.”