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Giants’ coach Keefe hails team spirit

The Stena Line Belfast Giants couldn’t claim both wins in their weekend double-header against the Cardiff Devils, as netminder Mac Carruth turned away 38 shots in regulation followed by four efforts in the shootout to claim the two points.

Belfast Giants' coach Adam Keefe

Slater Doggett had put the Giants ahead in the first period, but Stephen Dixon tied it up on the powerplay at the end of the second and Brodie Reid then got the game-winner in the shootout for the visitors

“I thought we were very good tonight. We played the full 60 tonight,” said Giants head coach Adam Keefe after the game.

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“We couldn’t find a way to extend our lead. Obviously four penalties it will be very tough against one of the best teams in the league right now.”

He added: “We will have to have a good look at the stats. But three points out of a four point weekend is not a bad result.

“I like where we are in the standings right now. We are in a good spot right now and we are very happy as a group this weekend.

“The team showed great spirit for both nights. The first twelve minutes in the Friday night game was tremendous and then we came into tonight’s game and played the full 60. We made a few mistakes but so did Cardiff. ”

Goalscorer Doggett admitted that the Giants had wanted to share the season’s series with the Devils going in to the double-header.

He said: “I think coming in and getting three points against Cardiff is a good weekend. We had really wanted to split the season’s series with them.

“Going into the games this weekend with the knowledge of how well we have been playing at home. We knew we could beat them.

“Losing tonight to the Devils does sting a little bit to be honest.”

Doggett does feel that the second match at SSE Arena was a much cager affair.

“Last night the guys skated a lot up and down the ice quite a bit. I think both teams took a lesson from that. We both tightened up their game tonight. There was no odd men rushes tonight, while last night there were a couple. That was certainly our goal tonight and I am sure it was the same with Cardiff.

“Playing that way will certainly slow down the game a bit and that’s what might have caused it to have been a less physical encounter tonight.”

Doggett added: “We are already taking the loss and thinking about it a little, thinking of what we could have done better in those important moments.

“I think our focus will be on the games that we have coming up. Certainly we will have learnt now not to take those two many men penalties in a close game. We will be taking tonight as tool to learn from.”

Reflecting on the games ahead Doggett said: “All these games won’t be easy but having said that it’s a challenge that we are looking forward to. One of our sayings is ‘adversity reveals character’ and playing that many games over a short stretch really hits you with adversity.”