Belfast Giants are ‘best’ in league says Kohei Sato
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Having suffered from several weeks of a slump the Giants got themselves back in winning ways last weekend when they took all four points on offer the Giants and Sato says they have a point to prove in the games ahead of Belfast this weekend against the Glasgow Clan at Braehead and the Sheffield Steelers at the SSE Arena.
Speaking to the News Letter, Sato said: “I am really looking forward to this weekend’s games against Glasgow and Sheffield, they will be exciting games to play in and for the fans to watch too.”
Sato agrees that Glasgow are an improved team who will still be licking through wounds after last weekend’s 5-1 defeat at the SSE Arena.
He said: “I expect that it will be a tight game. We have to give our best right from the start. We have been really good against Glasgow this season.
“They will be thinking that they will want to make their nose against us in their home rink. I expect them to step up for us going in their, we will get their best.”
Sato added: “This is how the measure themselves in the EIHL is when play the Giants who are one of the best teams in the league.
“I think we need to be ready for what they will come at us with. We need to put last weekend behind us, that games been played and won, now is the time to take the game to them.”
Dominating the game from the start is key. He explained: “Starting on time will be so important for us. That will be key to the game.
“Whenever we have a great start to a game and put a team on the back foot we deflate their energy.
“Fatiguing them early in a game allows us to dominate a game, we need to make sure to do that again.”
He is also relishing the opportunity to play the Sheffield Steelers again but this time on home ice at the SSE on Sunday.
He said: “Last time we played it was a bit of an emotional game, given everything that has been going on recently.
“Everyone says how good the Sheffield team are this season but to be honest that is just outside noise which I pay no attention to.
“I truly believe that the Belfast Giants are the best team in this league. They took that game from us last time. We play 54 games in a season, that defeat was just one game, there are a lot more games yet to be won. Losing happens in a season.”
He added: “I am looking forward to showing the Steelers what we are this Sunday at the SSE. It is going to be a statement game and we will be saying that we are the best.”
With the Giants short-benched because of a spate of injuries Sato says that he is taking his opportunity to get more ice time.
He explained: “It is what I try to do, while I don’t measure my performance in a game on the goals scored. You want to contribute in a team going forward and that is certainly one way that you can contribute directly.
“It also comes down to my line-mates, Bobby and Ara too, they have helped get those opportunities for me to score. They have been positioning the puck really well, the see the ice well, and then its my job to put the puck away.”
The Giants play the Glasgow Clan this evening at Braehead with a faceoff time of 7.30pm.