Giants hope to scale a new peak in Blaze of glory
Ed Courtenay has told his Belfast Giants players that, while every game is massive from here on in, they must be prepared to scale a new peak tonight.
The player-coach knows exactly the significance of the crucial Elite League clash with top-of-the-table Coventry Blaze.
Paul Thompson's side have hit the skids in the last week, losing twice and there is even more spice to tonight's contest because the Giants inflicted the first of those defeats last Sunday.
Now Courtenay is asking for another big performance from his players in order to shake up the league.
Victory for the Giants within 60 minutes will take them to within ten points of the leaders and with half the season still to go - including two more encouters between the sides - that will be nothing.
"Our stand on every game is that it's the biggest of the season," said Courtenay.
"Once we had everyone fit and healthy the guys started to believe more. This is the truth - we are a good team.
"I will commend my players for playing for a full 60 minutes against Coventry last weekend, but that is only one game, now they have to do it again.
"We have been playing well, we should have beaten Nottingham last Friday night and we were very disappointed to lose that game with 25 seconds left."
The Giants will once again be without Carlyle Lewis as he continues his recovery from a serious leg gash sustained a couple of weeks ago.
Coventry, too, have their injury problems with former Giant Curtis Huppe out with a broken hand and captain Sylvain Cloutier undergoing hernia surgery, which leaves Courtenay seeing his chance to inflict more pain on the defending champions.
"Every team is the same. When you are missing imports it's hard," he said.
"We had four missing when we lost eight of our first 11 games and when you have injuries to some of your top end players it is difficult to cope."
THE Giants will wear special edition Christmas shirts in the home games against Edinburgh and Cardiff on December 27 and 29.
The shirts will be raffled off and presented to the winners after the Cardiff match.
Tickets will be available tonight and at those two matches when the shirts will be worn.