Belfast Giants have a slim margin for error, admits Walser
Derrick Walser has labelled the Belfast Giants' Elite League title challenge an 'uphill battle' and the message that the player-coach is sending out is that his team won't give up.
And their hopes of overhauling the Cardiff Devils have been lifted after the leaders lost 3-1 to the Fife Flyers last night.
The Giants are still nine points behind the Devils with nine games to go and now have two matches in hand as well as three head-to-head matches to come.
Despite that, Walser believes that the Giants can only afford to lose one more time if they are to stay in the race.
After successive league wins against the Dundee Stars, Nottingham Panthers and Coventry Blaze last week the Giants have momentum behind them again as they travel to face the Panthers this evening.
"I look at the performances in the last few games and the effort and will to win has been there. If we keep playing like that we'll win a lot more games," said Walser.
"Those are maybe the couple of pieces of the jigsaw that have been missing.
"We are still in a battle and it is uphill, but the players won't be giving up.
"Our first target has to be to overtake Braehead and then we have to try to catch Nottingham."
Ultimately it is Cardiff that the Giants have to catch and the positive news is that the fixture list is on their side and if the Giants can keep winning then they can catch the Devils.
As well as the three meetings with the Giants, Cardiff have to face Nottingham twice as well as Coventry and Manchester in their last seven games.
"I think that we need to win at least eight of our nine games if we are going to win the league," said Walser.
"Cardiff still have tough games to play too. They'll get it tough and we have had some guys coming to the fore. Now we need a couple more to step it up and really bring their 'A' game between now and the end of the season."