Net gains at last for Andrew Dickson as he gets Belfast Giants start
Published 15/03/2014 | 05:00
Andrew Dickson will start a game for the Belfast Giants for the first time this weekend – and not only once, but twice.
The Ballymoney-born goaltender has spent the last three seasons acting as back-up goaltender to Great Britain international Stephen Murphy and despite figuring in almost 20 matches in that time, he has yet to be handed a starting role.
That is all about to change though with Giants coach Paul Adey set to reward the 26-year-old for his patience and dedication to by putting him into the team to face the Fife Flyers in Scotland tonight.
And with the Elite League title already in the bag, provided that nothing out of the ordinary happens this evening, Dickson will also fill Murphy's skates when the Giants host Braehead Clan at the Odyssey tomorrow afternoon (4pm).
"It's possible that we might not use Stephen Murphy this weekend," revealed Adey.
"He has played ever game this year and it might be possible that we don't use him.
"Whoever is in our net we've got to go out and play a hard game."
The thinking behind taking Murphy out of the firing line is to wrap him in cotton wool ahead of next Friday's Challenge Cup final first leg clash with the Nottingham Panthers at the Odyssey.
With only one more league game remaining after this weekend, also against Nottingham – next Saturday night in Belfast – this is probably Adey's only chance to give Dickson the chance that he has waited so long for.
That, however, is that advantage that the Giants now have, after winning the league three weeks ago.
And Adey has paid tribute to his players for putting themselves in a position where Dickson can get some extended game-time.
"The guys have been great, they have been so consistent with their play game in, game out and they have come to play every night," said Adey.
"Just look at our road record – just five defeats in 26 games – and just that explains everything why we won the league this year
"We have the attitude to go out and try to win every night.
"Credit to the players because it takes a lot of focus, a lot of determination and a lot of character
"They had all those attributes this year and that's why we are league champions."