Belfast Telegraph

Derrick Walser backing Giants to plug leaking defence

By Stuart McKinley

Derrick Walser doesn't believe that a leaky defence is going to derail the Belfast Giants' Elite League title challenge.

Although the Giants put four points on the board last weekend to move clear of the Cardiff Devils at the top of the table, they needed a penalty shoot-out to see off Braehead Clan after a 3-3 draw and they shared 12 goals with the Dundee Stars before winning in overtime.

The player-coach is putting those defensive difficulties down to a lack of focus and concentration, which he doesn't expect to continue.

And Walser is so confident in his back corps that he believes they will put things right when they face the Nottingham Panthers at the National Ice Arena tonight, before a trip to the Manchester Storm tomorrow.

"The reason we conceded so many goals in Dundee was because we kept pushing forward and forgot about defending first," said Walser.

"Guys were hanging in too long looking for goals and because of that they were making bad choices in defence.

"They were mesmerised by trying to force the game and not one of their goals was created by themselves - we let them in.

"I am confident that we will get over that because in the big games recently, against Sheffield and Cardiff, we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot.

"We know that this weekend going into Nottingham and Manchester that we can't give up easy goals.

"If they are going to score against us then we have to make them earn their goals."

The Giants' defensive unit has been strengthened in the last couple of weeks by the return of Johan Ejdepalm and Matt Nickerson from injury.

Mike Radja will be back this weekend and Chris Higgins, who has missed most of the season, is just a matter of days away from being back in the line-up.

"We have gone through a tough period where we have had some injuries and suspensions, but we are nearly through it now," added Walser.

"Provided we come through the weekend intact we should have a full roster next weekend."

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