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Courtenay slaps down fighting talk

By Stuart McKinley

Published 16/12/2006

Belfast Giants face Sheffield Steelers in their next game
Belfast Giants face Sheffield Steelers in their next game

Ed Courtenay last night responded to a boast from Sheffield Steelers tough guy Brett Clouthier that he has twice got the better of Belfast Giants enforcer Shawn Skiehar in fights this season.

And the Belfast Giants coach plans to use the Sheffield player's words to motivate his troops for tomorrow night's game in the Yorkshire city by pinning a local newspaper article on the wall of his team's dressing room.

Quotes attributed to Clouthier had him claiming: "I have already fed Skiehar his lunch twice."

Which was followed by: "I doubt whether he wants any more, but if he is still hungry I will be ready."

The pair first clashed at the end of October. Both were thrown out of the game at the end of the first period and Clouthier picked up a two-match ban for gouging, which could be seen clearly on television replays.

They were again in combat two weeks ago at the Odyssey and now Clouthier is talking big ahead of his first chance to get a go at Skiehar on his own rink.

Courtenay believes, however, that the Sheffield hardman has got it all wrong in terms of how the fights swung and what those contests meant for the teams.

"I didn't see it the way he does," said Courtenay.

"They were both pretty even battles, but the most important thing was that Shawn Skiehar didn't come out of the game on the losing side and that's what it's all about.

"Fighting isn't about winning the fight, it's about how the guys on your bench react and our guys have reacted better by winning the games against Sheffield.

"When you fight you fight for your team, not for yourself and Shawn Skiehar has that mentality."

Courtenay and his players will put thoughts of Clouthier and the Steelers to the back of their minds this evening though as the Edinburgh Capitals come to the Odyssey.

All ten teams play on a full night of Elite League action and the Giants will at least be aiming to consolidate their eight point lead over Coventry Blaze at the top of the table.

Blaze have five games in hand and winning all of those would take them above the Giants, but Courtenay isn't concerned about that.

"I have every confidence in my team's ability to beat anyone else, as long as they play for 60 minutes," he said.

"If you don't do that you can be in trouble, but overall the guys have given me 100% effort for 60 minutes in almost every game.

"The important thing is that we don't lose games that we should be winning and the game against Edinburgh is one that we should be looking to get two points from."

Belfast Telegraph

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