Doug Christiansen last night admitted that a proud record on his own patch as Belfast Giants coach is about to face its biggest test.
Eight wins from as many Odyssey outings have been collected under Christiansen’s stewardship and the Giants’ place at the top of the Elite League table will be strengthened if that figure reaches a perfect 10 on Saturday night.
Standing in the way though are the Sheffield Steelers, who themselves have designs on top spot — even though victories in Belfast tonight and tomorrow will leave still them couple of points shy.
“Without a doubt this is our biggest home weekend so far and our home record is going to be tested,” said Christiansen.
“It’s also our biggest weekend of the season at this stage, but there will be more of them and bigger ones to come.
“We’ve been consistently good at home and we need to do well at home.
“We know that Sheffield have some dangerous players, but we have dangerous players. They have a good defence and so do we.
“They have a quality goaltender, but we do as well, so that means it will come down to doing the small things right in order to make the difference.”
And while a lot will be expected of his players — including Mike Hoffman who has returned to Belfast after a flying visit to his family in north-America — Christiansen isn’t shirking the responsibility that will rest on his own shoulders.
“It’s a battle between the teams who are first and second in the league over two nights and it’ll be down to the coaches to see what we can come up with on the second night,” said Christiansen.
“There will be things I’m sure we will both want to change about our teams and whoever can get the win in the first game will put themselves in a great position to make it a four point weekend and the more of them you can get the better.”
The one big change for the Giants is that with two home games there will be no early Sunday morning alarm call for the players to catch either a plane or a ferry to an away game.
“We can focus on the job in hand, stay in our own routines and concentrate on winning matches, which is good for us,” said Christiansen.