The Belfast Giants face the Hull Stingrays at the Odyssey Arena on Saturday night before a road trip to the Dundee Stars on Sunday as the five-team race for the Elite League title continues and there is no room for allowing points to escape against sides in the bottom half of the standings.
Giants coach Steve Thornton admits that a loss at Hull last month is one of two defeats this season that haunts him, the other is a home defeat by Fife in September. With those four points the Giants would currently be top of the table but instead that is the gap between them and the Braehead Clan although Thornton’s side have two games in hand.
“The number of times I’ve walked into the locker room and called it the biggest game of the year seems to be every weekend this season,” said Thornton.
“You have to win your home games, first and foremost, if you want to win the league because its so difficult to win on the road and I talk about the games we’ve let go so far and would love to have back because we’d be in first place.
“We have to find a way to win games like the ones we have this weekend because Braehead only has six games left against the other title challengers and chasing them down when we’re playing the likes of Sheffield, Nottingham and Cardiff every weekend isn’t going to be easy.”
The Giants’ form at home has been good. After the Fife loss they won 13 in a row, a streak that was ended on Tuesday night by Cardiff in the first leg of the Challenge Cup.
The 4-3 defeat saw a below par performance from the Giants and they know they need to be better tonight to keep up the momentum in the league that has seen them win eight of their last nine games.
Thornton added, “I’m going to be as positive as I can despite the loss to Cardiff because we’ve been playing very well recently and been on a good run. The guys know we need to be better than we were on Tuesday.”