Belfast Telegraph

Walser is calling for more from faltering Giants

By Stuart McKinley

Belfast Giants coach Derrick Walser has revealed that he had to be talked out of scrapping plans to give his players two days off after losing twice last weekend.

Walser was furious with his team after a dreadful second period allowed the Cardiff Devils to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead before ultimately losing 6-2 and falling off the top of the Elite League table last Saturday.

Twenty four hours later, the Dundee Stars came from 2-0 down to win a penalty shoot-out in Belfast.

He has followed through with his threat of putting the players through more intense training sessions and has more planned over the next couple of weeks.

"Some people calmed me down after the Dundee game and the guys got their two days off on Monday and Tuesday," said Walser.

"We did more than just the normal skating and we had a bike session planned after that anyway.

"I don't know if us losing games is down to guys running out of gas or that they aren't up to the mark in their conditioning, but we have to do something about it.

"Next week we only have one game, on Sunday, and then we have a run where it's just weekends, so we'll be trying to nail down the conditioning."

Walser will expect a response when the Giants face the Fife Flyers in two Challenge Cup games this weekend, first in Scotland this evening before the teams travel to Belfast to meet again tomorrow afternoon (5pm).

The Giants are already guaranteed a quarter-final berth, but that won't stop Walser demanding big performances from his players ahead of Elite League games against Manchester Storm, the Nottingham Panthers, the Sheffield Steelers and the Cardiff Devils before Christmas and winning will also, in theory at least, give the Giants a better opportunity of securing a semi-final place.

"These are great tune-up games, but they aren't going to be easy," said Walser.

"It is important that we do well in them too because we want to finish first in our section and avoid meeting Cardiff, Nottingham or Sheffield in the next round.

"If we want to make sure we finish first we will have to get three points from this weekend."

Mike Forney misses this weekend's games as he has returned to North America for personal reasons.

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