Thornton relying on 'best' Belfast Giants to ensure survival
Steve Thornton has no doubt that his Belfast Giants team can stay in the Elite League title race despite their current injury crisis - but the coach is relying on his big players to drag the team through.
They did it twice last weekend, winning a penalty shoot-out after a tense scoreless draw against the Sheffield Steelers, before they fought back from 2-0 down to win 6-3 in Edinburgh.
Those results moved the Giants into second place in the table and they can close the gap on leaders Braehead Clan to just three points when they play their game in hand against the Nottingham Panthers at the Odyssey tonight.
That is followed by a home and away double-header against the Fife Flyers on Saturday and Sunday and Thornton is hoping that with Stephen Murphy, Mark Garside and Kevin Saurette definitely out, Craig Peacock may be fit enough to return from his injury.
"We have to focus on Nottingham because they are up first, but we can't take our focus away from Fife completely because they've been tough to play against this season," said Thornton.
"They have already beaten us at the Odyssey this season and that's a defeat that still hurts.
"We can get on a roll if our lines are healthy, but against Sheffield we didn't even have nine forwards who were fit.
"The situation we are in our best players have to be the best players and they have to make the others better too.
"We have to be tough to beat and the league race is so tight that I am just happy to be in the mix right now."