Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Awada issues rallying call

Todd Kelman has been drafted into the Giants team as an emergency

Belfast Giants captain George Awada will tell his team-mates tonight that they have to start showing the fans why coach Ed Courtenay wanted them in his squad.

By their own standards the Giants have made a shocking start to the season, despite beating the Edinburgh Capitals on opening night.

Since then goaltender Philippe DeRouville has been beaten 19 times in three outings, with just six goals being scored.

Although nothing can be read into the league table at this stage of proceedings, the Giants won't want to be stuck in the basement for long and as far as Awada is concerned the fightback must start tonight when the Newcastle Vipers come to town.

"The old players are taking time to gel with the new players," said Awada.

"It's not the new guys fault or the returning players, it is just something that happens with every team and it is just taking a little longer to come this season than it has in the last couple of years.

"It is just a matter of getting used to each other's games and the systems that we use, but nobody is getting too concerned over what's going on because the quality is there and it is starting to come through. I can see it more and more every day.

"There have been some really good spurts of hard work, but at times the passes just haven't been connecting.

"We have had bad results and the players are just as disappointed as the fans are.

"It's nothing to get too concerned about, but we have to answer the bell now and come out fighting. As far as the standings are concerned it doesn't really matter at this stage. We have a game on most of the teams, two on some and if we win a couple we'll be up to third or fourth.

"Two wins this weekend at home to Newcastle and in Nottingham and the losses will be forgotten about."

The Giants' goals against column hasn't been helped by injuries in their defensive unit.

Graeme Walton missed the first weekend of matches and Roman Gavailier then went down with an injury that will keep him out for around a month.

That meant Todd Kelman - who retired at the end of last season to become the team's general manager - being drafted in as an emergency. He skated with the team yesterday and a late decision will be taken on whether he is required to play again, but he is expected to be dressed in a suit this evening rather than the unfamiliar Giants number 15 shirt.

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