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Coach Derrick Walser ponders hanging up skates

Belfast Giants 15 Dundee Stars 8

By Stuart McKinley

Derrick Walser is considering retirement after seeing his season end in bitter disappointment.

The Belfast Giants player-coach is contemplating his future following Play-off semi-final defeat to the Sheffield Steelers on Saturday which meant a third successive trophyless season - the first time in the club's history that has happened.

At 38-years-old he is now pondering whether to focus on coaching - and with his contract up, whether or not that will be in Belfast. The situation will become more clear in the coming weeks, with the Giants management also having decisions to make if Walser does hang us his skates, with the club having to consider if they offer a new contract to him as a bench coach or look elsewhere for someone to double up as a player.

"It all depends on whether the body wants to," said Walser.

"I'm looking more down the road of retirement, but we'll se what happens in the future and take the next couple of weeks to take account of things."

The Giants won yesterday's bronze medal game against the Dundee Stars by 15-8 - yes, fifteen - in what amounted to a glorified exhibition game.

It was 4-4 at the end of the first period, with Blair Riley, David Rutherford, Ryan Martinelli and Colin Shields scoring.

They scored five to the Stars two in the second period.

Matt Towe made it 5-4 before Rutherford added two to complete a hat-trick.

Chris Higgins and then Mike Quesnele struck to put the Giants 9-6 up.

The Giants went one better, scoring six in the third period, with Dundee adding just two more. Jim Vandermeer, Mike Forney (two) Martinelli and Shields scored before captain Adam Keefe hit the 15th.

There was no way a win in that game was ever going to make up for Saturday's defeat, but Walser did take some pride from the performance

"Sheffield find a way to win every year. They are a good team, but I'm proud of my guys," said Walser.

"We had our chances early on. Both goalies were good, both teams hung in there really well.

"We love playing each other, it was the best game we've played all year, the pace was unbelievable."

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