Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants: Shane Owen determined to get better of old Flyers pals

 

Familiar faces: Giants goalie Shane Owen will be taking on his old side the Fife Flyers twice this weekend
Familiar faces: Giants goalie Shane Owen will be taking on his old side the Fife Flyers twice this weekend
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

When players move from one team to another within a league, inevitably the first game they put a circle around when the schedule is released is their return to their former home.

That was certainly the case for netminder Shane Owen, who this weekend will make his return to Fife, where he spent two seasons as their everyday man.

Now, he gets the opportunity to experience what it's like at the other end of the ice.

"I have no clue yet," he laughed when asked what he's expecting from the fans that used to cheer him on at the Fife Ice Arena tomorrow (6.30pm face-off). "I don't know if they're going to cheer or boo, all I know is it'll be a great atmosphere."

First he gets the chance to take on his old employers in his new home, the SSE Arena, when the pair meet in a Challenge Cup clash in Belfast tonight (7pm face-off), with the return fixture tomorrow again in the Cup.

With the Giants (1-1-0) currently second in their group, and with the top two sides automatically progressing to the quarter-finals, two wins over the Flyers (also 1-1-0) this weekend would put Adam Keefe's men within a point of clinching their spot in the knockouts with two games still to play.

Owen still has plenty of friends with the Flyers from his time there, of course, and the upcoming fixtures have led to some banter being thrown across the Irish Sea.

The goaltender is quick to absolve himself, however, as he pointed out: "I'm not (sending any texts), but they're definitely sending me a few - 'I'm looking forward to scoring against you', stuff like that.

"I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be fun to play against some familiar faces and I had a lot of fun in my two years there. I'm really looking forward to it, it should be great.

"If anything it's actually a motivator for me to give extra, so I'm just going to keep doing my thing and working hard. Hopefully we'll get the best outcome."

Although he was a fan favourite in Fife, Owen will likely get some good-natured heckling when he skates out at the Fife Ice Arena tomorrow, but he won't mind that at all.

He got plenty of it when the Giants faced the Augsburger Panther earlier this season in the Champions League, so he's well used to it. If anything, it'll be something he relishes.

"I always enjoy that as a goalie, it gets you on your game," he admitted. "When the atmosphere's bumping, it makes you want to play better."

Head coach Keefe is likely to have his first decision to make this season on who will be the healthy scratch, with Jesse Forsberg back from injury and ready to go having trained fully in practice this week.

Keefe is likely to want to give Forsberg some extended game time to get him back up to speed after four weeks out, which means a forward will have to sit out due to import restrictions.

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