Belfast Telegraph

Giants must capitalise on any Devils mistakes: Shields

By Stuart McKinley

Colin Shields wants to make sure that the Belfast Giants are ready to pounce should the Cardiff Devils wobble in the final weeks of the season.

The Giants responded to losing their back-to-back home games against the Devils a fortnight ago by beating the Fife Flyers and Nottingham Panthers last weekend and they now have seven games in which to close a seven-point gap.

They do need favours from other teams, but with the season due to conclude with a double-header between the Giants and Devils in the Welsh capital at the end of the month, Derrick Walser's men would only need to be within three points of their rivals in order to stand a chance of denying them the crown.

And that's why Shields is determined to keep on winning in the five home games that remain before those final two away games in Cardiff.

"It was good to get back on track," said Shields ahead of tonight's battle with Manchester Storm at the SSE Arena.

"There is still a way to go and we want to keep trying to knock off wins. You never know what can happen with other teams and the other results

"We've just got to keep things going, make sure we're playing good hockey down the stretch and see what happens."

Prior to the twin losses to the Devils, the Giants had suffered just three regulation time defeats in 24 games. Shields puts those two defeats down to him and his team-mates being unable to play the way they had done in the previous couple of months and was happy to revert back last weekend.

"We played the kind of style of hockey we've been playing for most of the season," he said. "With the losses we had before it was unfortunate that we got away from some of the things that made us successful.

"I thought we got back to that, we played well as a team, got scoring from everybody. They were two great wins and we'll be looking to build on that."

Worst case scenario now for Shields is to have confidence rebuilt with the Play-off campaign to come in early April, when the Giants could well meet Manchester again in a two-legged quarter-final.

"We had a ton of games in December, it seems to have all but slowed down, but this is the business end of the season. You want to finish on a high," said Shields.

"We've had a great season so far. Everyone should be proud with the job we've done.

"It is disappointing not to be right there, but we want to make sure we finish that off."

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