Awada says Belfast Giants ready for the push for rest of the season

Belfast Giants’ assistant coach George Awada believes the squad have put their recent poor form behind and are focused on the push for the remainder of the season.
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He said: “Our goal this season is to get as many points as we can every weekend. Sheffield at the minute are finding it hard to loss, so we need to maintain our consistency and prepare to give them a challenge in what is left in the season.

“There is still an awful lot to play for, we need to make sure we are doing what we can and keep taking points.

“It means if the league falls in a playoff scenario, then we are well prepared for it and that of course will add pressure to other teams in the league.”

Belfast Giants assistant coach George Awada during a CHL at the SSE Arena, Belfast. Picture: @Press Eye/Darren KiddBelfast Giants assistant coach George Awada during a CHL at the SSE Arena, Belfast. Picture: @Press Eye/Darren Kidd
Belfast Giants assistant coach George Awada during a CHL at the SSE Arena, Belfast. Picture: @Press Eye/Darren Kidd

Awada believes the rest of season will be an exciting one, not only for the fans, but also for the players too.

He explained: “There are a lot of high skilled teams in the league, Cardiff aren’t to far behind us and likewise with Guildford. Cardiff are a team that we need to compete with as well and we have two huge games with the Devils coming up at the SSE soon.

“Sheffield are uncharted territory right now, in the past they have been a team who have slipped.

“Every team has been in a position where they are well ahead and then something happens that knocks the steam out of them, that could still happen this season.

“It can be hard to maintain a lead all the way through a season without some mishaps, so long as we are pushing Sheffield, when that slips comes we will be ready to pounce on them.”

He added: “There isn’t many points separating the teams in the second, third, fourth etc, so every point counts go forward.

“The push for the top of the league, that process will help improve the Giants. We will see what happens come the end of March, I am sure it will be an exciting end to the season.”

Looking back at last weekend’s games against the Panthers and the Blaze, he says the results were a mixed bag but they are always happy to take three points out of the four.

He said: “Nottingham was a stress free game for us. Things were working for us in the game, we were looking for some luck and we had some bounces go our way.

“Everything was flowing the right way and that’s something that you want to see in a game.

“Admittedly, it’s not always going to happen that way but against the Panthers the game certainly went our way and we were please with that result.

“Then we had Coventry the following night. Right from the start, we know that its hard place to go into and play your game. They have had our number for most of this season, every game against them has been a battle and that was the case again.

“Our defeat in the Challenge Cup is still a bit of a open wound and it would have been nice to have got a chance to right it.

“But again, its always been a hard place, you have to be prepared for a 60 minute game against the Blaze, if you play less than that you will be punished.”

Meanwhile Giants, Jackson Whistle, David Phillips, Ben Lake, and Sean Norris have been named in Team GB's roster for next month's men's Olympic qualifiers in Cardiff next month. Norris is set to win his full debut cap at the tournament.

Team GB will face Romania, China and Serbia at the Vindico Arena, Cardiff from February 8-11, 2024, with the group winners progressing to final qualifying in August 2024 – the final stage before the Winter Olympics in Italy.

Reflecting on the call-ups Awada said: “While its hard for us as coaches to lose players for international call ups, you have to be pleased for the guys who have got the call.

“We will have to shuffle lines around that week and work our way through.”

He added: “They deserve to get the call and we wish them every bit of luck in the games.

“We hope that they play well and gain confidence from the games, that will be of great benefit to us as a team, if they do well and return it will give us a boost.”

The Giants are in action at the SSE Arena on Saturday night against the Coventry Blaze. Faceoff time of 7pm.

On Sunday they travel to the Spectrum to play the Guildford Flames. Faceoff time of 6pm.

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