Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants out to stand tall again

By Stuart McKinley

Doug Christiansen doesn’t yet know how the Belfast Giants circa 2011-12 react to a regulation time defeat.

He’s about to find out.

After 12 successive wins — on the back of a penalty shoot-out loss against the Sheffield Steelers on the opening night of the season — the first test of character awaits the new-look Giants.

Saturday night’s 3-0 loss at the hands of Coventry Blaze at the Odyssey Arena won’t have Christiansen ripping up his systems or questioning what he and his players have done so far — what they’ve done so far has been too good for that to happen.

And up until Saturday they’d taken something from every game this season.

The coach will be challenging his players to deliver in the face of adversity and it’s a challenge he’s confident that the team he built during the summer will stand up to.

“The guys all know that they didn’t play as well as they can against Coventry and hopefully they’ll want to correct their mistakes,” said Christiansen.

“This team hasn’t faced adversity yet — and it’s great to be able to say that after 12 league games.

“They face a test now of how to react to and overcome that adversity.

“I am extremely confident in their ability to pass that test.

“This team is fantastic and we were going to lose sometime. We weren’t going to go through a full 54-game schedule unbeaten — that just doesn’t happen.

“All good things come to an end and when they do that’s when you go out and try to start another run.”

Coventry took the lead shortly after the midway point of the game, punishing the Giants fully after George Awada had been sent to the penalty box for interference. Jerramie Domish and Matic Kralj combined to set up Shea Guthrie to score.

Just over a minute later Guthrie turned provider as David Phillips doubled the Blaze lead.

The Giants fired in a massive 18 shots at Peter Hirsh during the 20 minutes of the third period compared to Coventry’s eight.

There was no way past Hirsh though and it was Coventry’s Luke Fulghum who competed the scoring with seven minutes to go.

The Giants can still boast a 100 % record on their travels this season — and that truly is something to boast about.

That will be put to the test this coming weekend when they face the Nottingham Panthers on Saturday before doing battle with the Hull Stingrays on Sunday.

The Giants still lead Nottingham by three points at the top of the table after they lost to Coventry last night.

“I’m hoping that we’ll have Aaron Clarke in the line-up this weekend,” revealed Christiansen.

“His visa application will hopefully be completed inside the next 24-48 hours and we’ll see about Brock McBride and Jeremy Rebek later in the week.”

Belfast Telegraph

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