Belfast Telegraph

Keefe eager for Giants to get new campaign off to a flyer

 

By Stuart McKinley

Adam Keefe has declared that his first competitive game as Belfast Giants coach is all about winning.

And the former captain doesn't care how his team gets the points in their Challenge Cup game against the Dundee Stars.

The Giants won 5-3 in Dundee this time last season, but Keefe's successor as Giants captain, Blair Riley - who scored twice that night - is an injury doubt for tonight's game.

Keefe is content that his team will go into competitive Challenge Cup action with just two pre-season games behind them and just one injury as he looks to make an early impression in his rookie year behind the bench.

"It's a huge game for us because the quicker we can get to know our systems and the quicker the guys get a feel for each other then the quicker we will gel as a team," said Keefe.

"It is early, but it is a meaningful game. It's a road game and we have to play a certain way on the road. We also recognise that we are going to be on the road a lot in the first half of the season and we want to get the ball rolling.

"We have to look upon it as just another road game and when you're on the road you don't have to worry about impressing, you just want to get in there, get the points and get out again."

John Kurtz, who was signed earlier this week to complete the roster, joins Riley on the absentee list as he waits on his visa and the only key decision Keefe is likely to have to make is between his goaltenders Stephen Murphy and Jackson Whistle.

"I would have liked to have a full line up, but this usually happens at this stage of the season," said Keefe.

"Guys get niggles early on and that's why I was happy just to have two exhibition games.

"Last year we had four games and came out of them with something like five injuries before our first competitive game.

"It's a fine line and something that you have to weigh up, but I think we've got it right."

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