Impressed Walser urges Giants to follow Boxill's lead
Jonathan Boxill has won praise from Belfast Giants player-coach Derrick Walser, even though the immediate impact of new signing David Rutherford in Wednesday night's Challenge Cup quarter-final first leg win in Manchester may have stopped the Englishman getting all the credit he deserved.
Boxill took his points tally for the season into double figures with an assist for Darryl Lloyd's goal in the 5-2 success over Manchester Storm and with a crunch home double-header against Coventry Blaze tonight and tomorrow, followed by the return leg of the Challenge Cup tie, Walser now wants his unsung hero's qualities to rub off on his team-mates.
The Giants go into the weekend with an 11-point gap to make up on Elite League leaders Cardiff and every one of their three games in hand is going to be key to hopes of staying in the title race.
"Jonathan Boxill is an absolute team player. He will do whatever is asked of him," said Walser. "With him, Darryl Lloyd and Adam Keefe it's a great fourth line for energy and they work so hard.
"He's the main guy in that line because he never stops working and hopefully it's contagious for everyone else to follow his lead."
Rutherford set up two goals on his Giants debut and with an average of a goal or an assist in every game this season prior to his move from the Edinburgh Capitals, much is expected of the 28-year-old in Belfast.
"He's here, he knows the league which is the bonus part and he brings an element that we were missing," said Walser.
"We weren't getting to the net, we weren't playing with an edge enough. He plays on the edge, he does all the little things and that's what we wanted him for.
"We're not looking for him to carry the load, we're looking for him to bring his game, which is the smart game, rugged hockey, go to the small little detailed areas in front of the net and he was fantastic in Manchester."