Belfast Giants pay the penalty
The Belfast Giants remain pointless in the Champions Hockey League (CHL) after last weekend’s tough encounters with Czech Extraliga champions Oceláři Třinec and Swiss championside HC Davos.
The Giants’ efforts against both Třinec and Davos cannot be faulted, they will need to turn games around quickly and get bag some points if they are to have any chance of progressing in the CHL.
But it was the number of penalties that the Giants drew in the games which caused the most headaches for Belfast.
Head coach Adam Keefe will be demanding a step up on players discipline going into this week’s rematches with both Třinec and Davos.
Reflecting on the game against Davos last Sunday Keefe said: “We need to stay out of the penalty box, that’s for sure.
“I thought when we were five on five we played well. We didn’t give them a lot of opportunities.
“That is great to see against a good team but also a good team which is from a strong league.”
He added: “That was certainly a positive for our side, but there are things that we will need to look at and improve for sure.
“Overall, I was but we need to work on our discipline and keep out of the penalty box and maybe strike more on our powerplay.”
Keefe conceded had the Giants not given away the number of penalties against Davos it might have been a different scoreline.
He said: “If we eliminate those penalties, we are right up there with Davos.
“They could have scored five on five, just as we could have, and the game could have changed itself. That is a massive part of the game and we really need to work on stay out of the box.
“Right now we are taking five penalties, which is five a bit minutes to kill with the other team on the offensive and it’s killing us.
“It has taken the wind out of the sail of some of the guys. They are not getting a chance to play their game and its disrupting the flow of the game.”
Scott Conway, the Giants’ third goal scorer and equaliser in the middle period, is confident that the side can turn their game round..
“The penalties at the end of the day killed us. We know that we can hang with them,” he said.
“We know that we can compete against any of teams in the CHL tournament.
“Going forward from these games we can have a lot of confidence. We are confident that we can bring the game to them in Davos this coming Friday and hopefully get the job done.”
Conway continued: “We had to match the speed of Davos, the first five minutes of the game were very fast and we had to match them.
“Its the CHL and it has the best of the best competing, and we had to step up and match Davos.
“As long as you are moving your feet, great things will happen. We moved our feet very well tonight.
“We moved the puck fast and you have to do that when you are playing good players like those who are on the Davos team.”
Conway also believes that there are lessons to be learnt.
“Staying out the box is the crucial lesson for us to take onboard going into the next two games next week.
“Taking 10 minutes or so penalties in a game is a no go for us, especially in the CHL as these sides can punish you for taking those penalties.
“So if we can stay out of the box and bring a five on five game to Davos and Třinec we have a huge chance of winning some games in this tournament.”