Belfast Giants focus on turning poor form against the Steelers
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He will be looking for his team to step up this weekend in two huge games, starting against the Sheffield Steelers tomorrow at the Utilita Arena, and then against the Manchester Storm. There are four points up for grabs all of which will important to the Giants as they seek to defend their EIHL title.
Looking back those games Keefe said: “Looking back at the game at home against Cardiff, I think we deserved more in that game. Although it was tough to take the loss, I think there are positives we can take out of it. We played well against a good team like Cardiff.”
He continued: “What was disappointing was how we followed up in Guildford. We did enough to control that game, but we were too loose defensively and struggled offensively.
“The challenging bit now is we have to let go of last weekend and focus on the game against Sheffield.
“That’s what we are going to do. You can’t dwell on the past game in this league, you have to move on quickly.
“You need to build consistency, that’s what wins. Yes, we have dug ourselves a mini hole but there is still a heck of a lot of hockey to be played this season.”
Keefe believes the Giants need to learn the margin of errors in tight games like those against Cardiff can be small.
“We have proven in the past that we can play relatively mistake free hockey. We did that in the Champions League.
“We need to get back to playing that type of hockey. We can withstand some bad luck here and there.
“When things aren’t going your way you need to adapt and work a little harder. We need to defend that little bit harder as well.
“That will mean we can withstand those 1-0 or 2-1 games which are just as important blowing out a team five nothing. Our foundation needs to be solid first.”
He added: “We are always looking to improve the team. I am confident in this team.
“We are focused at getting this back on track, that’s our challenge right now.
“We can’t forget the success that we had in the CHL and the thirteen winning streak that wasn’t a fluke.
“We can get back to winning and let go of some of the frustration that we’re carrying.”
Keefe believes that the Giants deserve more in this weekend’s two games. He want to see more swagger from the squad.
He said: “Games against the Steelers are always big and this weekend’s fixture is no different. They seem to be the benchmark in the league right now. They are in first placed at present, followed by Cardiff and Nottingham.
“It will be our first time playing against the new Steelers setup this season, so it will be a great measuring stick for us as a group which is going through a bit of adversity right now.
“I think what better way to show what you have than to come up against the current league leaders.
“It will give us a chance to find out where exactly we stand with this group. We will be up for that challenge.”
He adds that Steelers coach Aaron Fox has put together a strong team.
“It not a surprise to see the team that Foxy has put together,” remarked Keefe. “He has always done a great job in recruitment. But we are equally as good.”
Former Premier League goalie Petr Čech has been brought in a temporary emergency loan to help relieve pressure on the Giants’ goaltending team which has been lately hit by injuries.
“Petr game over to Belfast at the end of last season of the Ukrainian charity game,” said Keefe. “He is a very capable goalie that's for sure. He has also been a great athlete, not only playing football but also ice hockey too.”
He added: “He is going to come into Belfast and create a bit of excitement in the group and that’s something that we need right now. We really appreciate Petr coming in and helping us out.”
Meanwhile, next Sunday’s game away to the Nottingham Panthers is to go ahead.