Belfast Giants hoping for home victories
BELFAST Giants' head coach Adam Keefe is hoping that his players can reap the benefit of home comforts this weekend after 10 consecutive road games when the Edinburgh Clan and Braehead Clan visit the SSE Arena for an Elite League double-header.
Keefe was content at a return of seven wins from that gruelling sequence but not so happy at Tuesday night's 3-2 defeat to the Clan in Glasgow which saw the away run come to an unsatisfactory end in his opinion.
However, with all but six out of the 26 remaining league games in the New Year being staged in Belfast, the Giants will be reasonably confident that they can continue to mount a challenge for the title.
At present they lie in second place in the standings, trailing defending champions the Cardiff Devils - 3-2 winners over Coventry Blaze on Wednesday - by six points but with a game in hand.
Tonight's game against the league's basement side Edinburgh, who are in disarray this season, looks to be the more straightforward of the weekend double-bill before tomorrow's revenge mission with the Clan.
Having parted company with their coach earlier in the month, Edinburgh were crushed 11-1 by the Fife Flyers earlier in the week, leaving them with just six points out of a possible 54.
However, Keefe will be more concerned with getting his own players' heads in the right place after that defeat by the Clan on St Stephen's Day.
"Some guys showed up but a lot didn't and some of them must still have thought they were still on their Christmas holidays or whatever." he said.
"It wasn't good enough and we needed to have more of a killer instinct; we battled hard to get even in the third period but they punished us on a power-play.
"The guys understand exactly what they need to do but we just didn't do it; maybe they think they're too good and were too confident going into the game but that's up to me.
"Braehead outplayed us, it was as simple as that and it's all very well beating the so-called bigger teams but you have to perform against the rest as well."
However, Keefe admitted that he probably would have settled for what transpired in a general sense during the run of away games and he is glad that the stretch is now over.
"It was asking a lot dragging the players all over the UK but I'm happy overall with seven wins out of 10 and we got some big results." he added.
"The guys deserve to get home and all the comforts that go with it, like sleeping in their own beds and playing in front of their home fans."