Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Belfast Giants to make Stars fall to earth

Pick it out: Defenceman Calvin Elfring has been a source of goals for the Giants

Paul Adey is calling on his Belfast Giants players to produce a "big performance" if they are to become the first team to beat the Dundee Stars this season.

Dundee have been perennial strugglers since they came into the Elite League in 2010, but an amazing turnaround sees them top the table.

Not only are the Stars leading the way, they have made a 100 per cent start to the season, beating both the Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers along the way.

Former Giant Jeff Hutchins has recruited well during the summer and his team's impressive start to the campaign has put Adey on red alert ahead of tonight's clash at the Odyssey Arena.

"We've got to be ready to play," warned Adey.

"Dundee haven't lost this season and we need to come up with a big performance if we want to win the game."

The turnaround in fortunes for the Stars is rooted in their forward pack, with summer signings Brock McPherson – who came from Scottish rivals Braehead – Nico Sacchetti, Jerry Pollastrone and Nikita Kashirsky all among the goals already.

Defencemen Tysen Dowzak and Rory Rawlyk have also impressed, but their leading light so far has been goaltender Dan Bakala, who is already earning rave reviews.

"They have three lines that can all play – that's made a big difference for them," said Adey.

"They also have a good goalie in Dan Bakala who has been Player of the Week in the league on the first two weekends, which speaks volumes.

"As a team they are playing well, their forwards are taking their opportunities and obviously Bakala has started very well."

The last thing the Giants want to see this weekend is another hot goaltender in front of the opposition net.

Coventry Blaze's Mike Zacharias was outstanding as his team left the Odyssey 5-0 winners last Saturday night, with the Giants failing to beat him with any of the 40 shots they recorded on the night.

Having scored 12 goals in their opening two games Adey has confidence in his team that they will score and win games, no matter who is standing between them and the net.

"We're going to come up against good goaltending as the season goes on, we just have to find a way to beat them," he said.

"I think that we have a well balanced team in terms of goalscoring. We have a lot of good forwards who I expect to score a lot of goals throughout the season.

"As well as that we have defencemen like Robby Sandrock and Calvin Elfring who can score goals, so I'm not concerned that there is going to be a lack of goals.

"We had 40 shots against Coventry and missed the net about another 15 times.

"If we keep doing that I expect us to score some goals next time."

And Adey has taken action this week in the hope that the men who are paid to score goals are doing their job.

Extra shooting drills have been incorporated into practices, meaning there will be no excuses for not finding the net tonight.

"We always look at the previous games, see what might have been wrong and try to minimise the mistakes and do better," said Adey.

"We need to improve on last weekend and we want to pick up points at home.

"We have a run coming up where we have a lot of road games, so winning at home is important before we come into that stretch of matches."

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