Belfast Giants will fight tooth and nail for title: Colin Shields
Colin Shields has sent out a strong message to those who think that the Belfast Giants are finished.
Rather than conceding the Elite League title after defeats to both the Nottingham Panthers and Fife Flyers last weekend left them four points behind leaders Braehead Clan, Shields has declared "we won't give up our title without a fight".
The Scot, who turned 35 earlier this week, does acknowledge that any more slip ups could be fatal, but he believes that the Giants are just as good a team as they were last year and the difference between running away with the league and being in the chasing pack is the improvements made by their title rivals.
"Inconsistency has been the story of our season," Shields conceded ahead of this weekend's away double header against the Nottingham Panthers.
"Just when we look like we are getting things right, we drop a game and we've had so many ups and downs.
"I think we set the bar high last year and other teams have stepped up and come up to our level.
"Others have dropped games too and we are only four points behind Braehead with 14 games to go, which is nothing really.
"If we can get some consistency back we have enough games against the other teams at the top to make up that ground and that's what we'll be trying to do and we'll keep fighting to the end."
The Panthers were 4-0 winners at the Odyssey Arena last weekend, but the Giants won 6-3 on their last trip to Nottingham shortly before Christmas.
It isn't the big games that concern Shields though, with five of the Giants' 13 defeats having come against the supposedly weaker teams in the opposite conference.
"The conference system means we play the top teams so much more, but we have done well in the bigger games," he said.
"If you split against the teams in your own conference and then win your other games that should win you the league, but we have dropped points against those teams and then have to win them back in our own conference," he added.