Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants chief demands first victory

By Stuart McKinley

One week into the season and already Doug Christiansen is growing impatient.

Just a little bit, but enough to tell you that the coach doesn’t want to have to wait any longer for his Belfast Giants team to record their first win of the season.

Had things gone according to plan he’d already be looking for his second, but even the best laid plans oft go wrong.

A penalty shoot-out defeat in the season-opening game against the Sheffield Steelers stung. So much so that the players were brought in for an extra practice on Monday rather than enjoying a day off.

The only way the players can guarantee they’ll get a lie in this Monday is to beat the Hull Stingrays at the Odyssey tonight and then do the same when they travel to Cardiff tomorrow.

Christiansen stopped short of making a bold declaration that his team is better than Hull, but he is expecting a victory.

“We’ll be ready to go and get all over Hull and we’ll be going for the two points,” said Christiansen.

“We want to get ourselves on a winning run. Losing the first game at home isn’t what we wanted.

“We have to go and out-work Hull. If we do that then I believe that we have got the skill and the talent to get the win. We want to get the ball rolling.”

Even though the season is only a week or so old the Giants players will already be sick of the P-word. Powerplay.

They weren’t able to turn any of their opportunities with a numerical advantage into a goal against the Steelers. Christiansen hasn’t gone back to the drawing board, he simply wants his players to stick to the plan.

“We did a lot of work on our powerplay,” said Christiansen.

“It takes time to get it right. What happened against Sheffield was that when it wasn’t quite working guys started to go off and do their own thing.

“I want them to stick to our system because if we do that it’ll come. If they drift away from that then it just compounds the problem.”

Christiansen hasn’t had his problems to seek. The big summer signing, last season’s Elite League top goalscorer Jon Pelle, won’t ice this month because of injury.

Fortunately the coach’s gamble in signing an extra import — he has 11 on his roster when only 10 can play on any given night — means the team isn't short benched at this stage.

“We didn’t want it to happen, not to Jon Pelle and not at this stage of the season, but it shows that the organisation has a bit of foresight,” said a defiant Christiansen.

Belfast Telegraph

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