Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants captain Blair Riley named EIHL Player of the Week

By Adam McKendry

THE accolades continue to roll in for Belfast Giants captain Blair Riley, whose weekend tally of five goals in three games has seen him named the Elite League's Player of the Week.

Riley, 33, is in sensational form right now, his five goals - highlighted by his first career hat-trick against the Glasgow Clan on Saturday - and a further assist taking him to 25 points (12G, 13A) on the season after just 21 games in all competitions.

Belfast won all three of their games at the weekend, against the Fife Flyers, Clan and Dundee Stars, and now lead the Elite League by four points, largely in part to Riley's efforts in front of goal.

The Canadian, who earlier this week was also voted British Ice Hockey Player of the Week, is now the league's leading goalscorer and sits second in points behind Fife's Paul Crowder.

He's been helped by the familiarity of the line he's playing on, anchoring Belfast's top forward line along with David Rutherford and Darcy Murphy, the trio scoring 64 points between them in Belfast's first 17 league games.

When you bear in mind that Riley played through a niggling injury to start the season, it makes his recent form all the more impressive, and it's no coincidence that his upturn in form has seen the Giants go on a phenomenal stretch themselves.

Led by Riley's scoring exploits, the Giants have won 13 of their last 14 in all competitions and are currently on a five game winning streak on the road.

"Getting the hat-trick against the Clan was the first of my career and it was great to get the win. Rudy, Murph and I are doing well right now and we need to keep the momentum rolling," said Riley.

"It was a very good weekend from the team in Scotland. Three games in three nights is tough and the boys were awesome all weekend. We are in a great position although there are still a lot of games to play – both in the league and next week’s Continental Cup games in Belfast.

"This weekend against Nottingham and Cardiff will be a huge test. The Devils have dominated the league the last few seasons and Sunday’s game will be an important one for us."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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