Belfast Giants bounce back in style
Belfast Giants 5 Edinburgh Caps 0: Doug Christiansen is demanding that his Belfast Giants players stay switched on if they are to retain the Elite League title.
And the coach is warning that any repeat of Friday night’s pitiful performance against Braehead Clan could spell the end of their hopes of catching the Nottingham Panthers.
The Giants did recover from that 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Clan to beat the Edinburgh Capitals 5-0 at the Odyssey on Saturday evening, but they are still four points adrift of the Panthers at the summit.
“Our destiny is still in our own hands. There is still a lot of hockey to be played and we are very much in the title race, but we have to make sure that stays the case,” said Christiansen.
“There are going to be a lot of twists and turns over the next two months, but the Braehead game provided the evidence that if we don’t play well we are susceptible to losing a game, no matter who or where we are playing.
“At the same time, though, when we play well we are capable of beating anyone, in any building, in the league.”
The Giants Brit pack came to the fore against Edinburgh, with four of the goals scored by players who will head to Latvia next week with the Great Britain squad for their final Olympic qualifying tournament.
Mark Garside and Craig Peacock struck in the first period, with Darryl Lloyd adding another as the Giants went 3-0 up inside eight minutes.
David Phillips hit the fourth midway through the second period and then, with Garside sitting in the penalty box, Colin Shields scored short-handed five minutes into the third period to complete the comfortable victory.
“We maybe should have scored a couple more goals, but I was pleased with our defence — any time you get a shut-out is good and we kept them down to just 20 shots,” said Christiansen.
“Every time that we have been tested this season we have come back and showed our mettle.
“Now we’ve got 15 games left and we’ve got to find a way to play at our best in all of them.
“Our margin for error is less after losing to Braehead and we can’t afford to have many more nights like that.
“Nottingham still have to come to Belfast twice and we have to make sure that we make them two big games.”