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Belfast Giants aiming for clean bill of health after Dundee Stars clash

John Flack

AVOIDING injuries will be the priority for Belfast Giants in tonight's Challenge Cup quarter-final second leg encounter with Dundee Stars at the SSE Arena (7pm).

Adam Keefe's side should have no difficulty progressing to the last four as they take a virtually unassailable 8-0 lead into the second instalment.

Realistically though, the Giants will have one eye on the weekend Elite League double header with Glasgow Clan and Manchester Storm as the team goes back on the road again.

Keefe's men got back to winning ways when they followed up a 3-1 win over Guildford Flames on Saturday in Surrey with a hard-fought 3-2 success over Cardiff, following a shootout, in Belfast 24 hours later.

The Giants sit top of the standings, three points ahead of Nottingham Panthers, with three games in hand much to the delight of their head coach.

"It was a big weekend for us and I'm obviously happy with the way it went," said Keefe.

"I was pleased with our bouncebackability after we had lost two in a row and to have beaten Guildford away and then the defending champions was a good return.

"Against Cardiff, it was particularly tough as you'd expect but when you've a goalie like (Tyler) Beskoworany shutting the door, you're always going to be confident when it goes to penalties.

"Both teams understood the significance of the game and the points that were up for grabs and, fortunately, we found a way to win again.

"I'm proud of the guys, who are a great bunch of human beings and it's a privilege to be able to coach them.

"Now though, we've got to move on and get the Dundee game out of the way before we focus on another tough weekend."

Keefe diplomatically says he is taking nothing for granted against the Scots, despite the huge deficit they face as the Giants continue their defence of the trophy.

However, he is likely to give less ice time to his top line players, with the weekend fixtures being the obvious priority in the circumstances.

"It won't be easy as Dundee been on a roll lately and they will be doing their best to get the scoreline back," Keefe added.

"But we won't be sitting back and we will try to do a professional job on them although it's

important we don't pick up any injuries along the way."

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