‘We earned cup final’, says Giants’ captain Goodwin

After a hectic schedule recently with four games, including the Challenge Cup semi-final, in a week the Belfast Giants have been taking some time to recharge their batteries.

Belfast Giants’ David Goodwin celebrates scoring against Manchester Storm during last Sunday’s Elite Ice Hockey League game at the SSE Arena

Captain David Goodwin explained: “Our schedule has been pretty busy recently. We have had some games which we had to catch up with after they were cancelled around Christmas time because of Covid.

“Playing make up games has taken a toll on our energy levels.

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“But in the end of the day we got the wins last week and that’s our main focus right now, to win everything that comes our way.

“The guys have stepped up and I am really proud of all their efforts. This week we have taken a few days to relax and recover, especially after last weekend’s games.”

The Giants’ won against the Nottingham Panthers to secure their place in the Challenge Cup final, a game that will be played on home ice on Wednesday, March 16.

Reflecting on the Giants’ qualification for the final, Goodwin said: “We are very focused on the league but to get the opportunity to win a trophy at the SSE is pretty special.

“Everyone is pretty pumped about that game coming up later this month.”

The knowledge that they would home ice advantage was a big incentive for the Giants.

Goodwin said: “At the start of the Challenge Cup campaign it felt like that we were travelling over to Scotland every week to play the likes of Dundee and Fife.

“Our good performances in those group games back then have paid off now that we get to host home ice advantage for a championship game, so that’s pretty special. We have earned it.”

In the Panthers game Goodwin picked up two sublime goals to secure the Giants’ place in the final.

“I am getting to play with great line-mates this season in the likes of JJ Piccinich and Scott Conway.

“We know that we play an integral for the team in providing offense. And on that night it was my turn to step up and score.”

Last weekend, for the first time since about October 
the Giants had a full squad of players.

Goodwin commented: “It is good to have everyone back in the line-up. It is nice to have more bodies on the bench, certainly from a rest standing point at least. It allows us to keep our energy levels high.

“Sometimes it is tough for Keefer to figure out what are the best combinations now that there are some many options available to him now.

“But overall we are all pretty happy that we are back to full health.”

Although the Challenge Cup final is coming up Goodwin explained that the philosophy of the Giants’ locker-room is focusing on each day as it comes.

He said: “It truly, truly is one day at a time. No matter whether its a league game or a Challenge Cup one, we try and put our best foot forward.”