Belfast Giants need to ‘keep to playing simple hockey’, says McLeod

Belfast Giants’ Matt McLeod is drawing positives from the recent run of ‘adversity’.
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He believes that the Giants need to get back to simple hockey and stop “holding our sticks too tight”.

He said: “It is definitely not fun when you have a string of games when you aren’t winning.

“Specially since the Giants have such a high standard and demand the best from ourselves as a team.

Belfast Giants’ Matt McLeod with Dundee Stars’ Craig Moore. Photo by William Cherry/PresseyeBelfast Giants’ Matt McLeod with Dundee Stars’ Craig Moore. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Belfast Giants’ Matt McLeod with Dundee Stars’ Craig Moore. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

“We know that we have what it will take to repeat the successes of last year.”

McLeod added: “It has been a good test for us, a little bit of adversity early in a season will help build a team's character and I think we will come back to reflect that these last few weeks have benefitted us come the end of the season.”

Looking back the early part of the Giants’ season McLeod said: “We had a great start to the year with the performances and wins in the Champions League.

“We have had to dial things back and focus on the simple things in our play and get them right.

“If we take care of the simple things, stop holding our sticks too tight and go out and play hockey then everything else should fall into place.

“We definitely started to doing that in the second half of the Glasgow game at the SSE and we got some of our swagger back which was great to see and that continued on into the game in Nottingham too.

“When we are at our best we are unbeatable, in the game against Glasgow, they really didn’t have any looks in the second and third periods.

“We had a great five on three penalty kill against Glasgow. Getting through that kill gave us all a huge boost. And you could say that we forgot about the slump at that time.

“Each shift the guys were going over the boards and making an impact on the game, that is something that we need to keep doing.

"We need to remember who we are. Winning is fun and we like to win.”

McLeod agrees the spate of injuries that the Giants have had has an impacted.

He explained: “It is never fun when you are hurt and having to sit games out, it sucks having to watch when you really want to be on the ice.

“We have been battling through injuries as of late.

"It has led to us missing a number of key players from the line-up and the team being short-benched.

“There will be opportunities for other guys who aren’t injured to get more ice time, you have to seize those chances.”

McLeod added: “We have a good locker-room, we know the pieces and just have to put it together on the ice each game.”

But it was a disappointing start to the weekend last night in Glasgow.

It was a game which will be remembered for a dubious refereeing call, one which probably cost the Giants the game.

The Giants seized an early goal thanks to Johnny Curran at 1.46.

The Clan gradually gained confidence and their efforts were repaid at 19.09 when Jake Bolton’s blueline blast levelled the sides.

The middle period saw both sides have chances, but it was a controversial call at 32.21 in favour of the Clan, it was a goal which appeared kicked by Luke Lynch, but it was adjudged a good goal.

The Giants were unable to find an equaliser and the game was wrapped up with an open net goal from Reece Kelly at 57.52 to make it 3-1.

The Giants are back in action against the Sheffield Steelers tomorrow (faceoff time of 4pm).