Top-form Giants punish Panthers

Just as the Belfast Giants were starting to build up some steam they were struck down with the Covid Protocol just before Christmas.

Belfast Giants’ David Goodwin celebrates scoring against the Dundee Stars during last Friday’s Elite Ice Hockey League game at the SSE Arena

It might have been expected that the layoff would have some impact on their EIHL campaign.

Instead the Giants have picked up from where they had left off and have charged into the remainder of the season with back-to-back wins, first against the Dundee Stars and then the Nottingham Panthers, with seven goals in both games. They are now regarded as one of the hottest teams in the league presently.

Indeed, against the Panthers Ben Lake put four goals by Kevin Carr who was between the posts.

Giants’ captain David Goodwin says that the Giants are playing with a lot of confidence.

“Things are going really well for everyone at present. We have built up a nice winning streak and we are all pleased with the last few weeks.”

He adds: “To be honest the break has probably done us a favour. We had a chance to regroup and recharge our batteries, both mentally and physically, and when we could get back playing we wanted to hit the road running.”

He admits he wasn’t disappointed to miss out on a hat-trick against Dundee.

During the game he was given three goals but it was later decided that the opening goal was scored by teammate Kevin Raine.

“There was a real scramble in front of the net and we weren’t sure if I had got a tip on the puck or not.

“But I am obviously really happy that Kevin for getting that goal.”

Reflecting on the 7-2 victory against the Panthers in Nottingham at the start of this week, Goodwin said: “Our offense is firing all cylinders right now. We have a lot of guys playing very confidently.

“And when your confidence it usually means that you score more. Hopefully we can keep that up.”

Confidence is all important says Goodwin.

“Confidence is obviously very important to a team. Myself, Piccinich and Conway, we have some momentum going at present.

“But then you also have guys likes Tyler Soy and Ben Lake who have started to play with a high level of confidence now, and that’s giving them opportunities to score.”

He adds: “Everyone has known that Tyler Soy was a very skilled and smart hockey player. He can make plays and reads the game really well.

“For him being a rookie, it just took a little bit of time for him to gain that confidence and to make plays.

“But he has also been supported well by our coach Adam Keefe, who continues to put Tyler in advantageous situations.”

Turning his attention of for goal scorer Ben Lake, Goodwin said: “Everyone was really impressed by his performance against Nottingham.

“When we got back to the bus at the end of game I went and had a chat with him. I asked him if he’d ever scored four before. He said: ‘Mate I have never had three in a game before, never mind four’.”