Three wins in three nights last weekend was the perfect Christmas present for the Belfast Giants but the busy holiday period doesn’t get any easier with two games against the Braehead Clan - the first meeting at the Odyssey Arena on Saturday evening and the return in Glasgow on Sunday.
The Giants find themselves in third place in the Elite League, six points adrift of leaders Sheffield and four points behind the Clan, so have the chance to draw level with a couple of victories.
The sides are also in different conferences which mean they only face each other four times a season as opposed to eight games against sides in your own conference.
With the Clan serious title contenders, taking points off them is paramount.
“Braehead, being in the other division takes it out of our hands a little bit and its good to see the other teams in the other conference start to beat each other,” said coach Steve Thornton.
“Edinburgh have put together a nice little run and Dundee have strung together some good results and Hull is a dangerous team as too are Fife who are a little bit inconsistent at the moment.
“But it is out of our hands if Braehead walks away with that division and you have to almost cheer for the teams from our conference when they play against them because they only have seven games remaining against sides from our division so we need to take points off them.”
He continued; “Braehead have a really good team, they play physical, they have a really good powerplay and they have great chemistry as they haven’t had a lot of injuries to deal with this season yet.
“They got the better off us early in the season in the Challenge Cup games but when they came to the Odyssey in the league we won 4-1 and I thought it was one of our best performances of the season.
“We did the little things well and stuck to our gameplan and put in a full 60 minutes of effort and we need to do that again this weekend.”
With a genuine five team race developing between Sheffield, Nottingham, Braehead, Cardiff and the Giants this is an important few weeks and Thornton knows what’s at stake.
He added: “It is a really good league, very competitive and that’s what you want as a fan, to have as many teams with a shot as possible.
“You obviously want your team to win but when you go to a game you want it to be a good game that is good for the emotions and is a real battle that could go either way.”