Belfast Giants coach Paul Adey defends Jeffrey Szwez actions
Braehead Clan 2 Belfast Giants 5: Belfast Giants coach Paul Adey jumped to defence of Jeffrey Szwez over the incident that brought about a one-match ban for the Canadian winger.
Szwez leapt over the boards to confront Braehead Clan's Chris Frank during Saturday night's Challenge Cup clash in Glasgow and was immediately thrown out of the game.
The offence of leaving the bench carries an automatic suspension and the 32-year-old will now miss Saturday's clash with the Cardiff Devils at the Odyssey.
Adam Keefe has one game remaining of his four-game ban, leaving Adey without two key men against the Devils, but there is no criticism of Szwez coming from his coach.
"I spoke to Moray Hanson (Elite League Head of Discipline) after the game and what he said was right," said Adey.
"The rule states that if you leave the bench you get suspended for it, but if guys are chirping at our bench throughout a game then it's a natural reaction.
"Szwez got fed up with Frank cheap shooting our players all night and challenged him to step up, but he wasn't interested.
"I think when Adam Keefe is out of our line-up other teams see it as a weakness and they think that they can get at us, but that won't happen when Jeffrey Szwez is around.
"He's a great goalscorer, but he has an aggressive streak too and he will take action if he thinks it is needed."
Calvin Elfring netted the Giants opener after just five minutes in Braehead before Scott Aarssen levelled with a powerplay goal to make it 1-1 at the end of the first period.
Evan Cheverie – on a powerplay – and Robby Sandrock both struck to put the Giants into a strong position and although Joel Champagne pulled one back for the Clan, that was as close as they got in the remainder of the game as Craig Peacock and Kevin Saurette scored in the third period to ensure the points headed back to Belfast.
The win ensures a quarter-final place for the Giants and Adey now has the task of trying to motivate his players for a trip to Fife next month that will have nothing riding on it.
Thankfully for him, the three other remaining Challenge Cup group games also double up as league matches.
"It's tough to get players motivated when they know that the points aren't all that important," said Adey.
"We have to try to make sure that they still keep on top of their performances and don't drop their standards."
"We've seen before that if you don't perform for 60 minutes you can let teams back into games."