Belfast Giants' Smotherman: We're ready for Euro challenge
Belfast Giants winger Jordan Smotherman says their win over Czech outfit Bili Tygri Liberec proves the team are here to compete in the Champions League.
The side put in a phenomenal performance to defeat the Extraliga runners-up in a shock 5-4 win at the SSE Arena on their CHL debut that earned them plaudits across Europe.
As a result, the Giants top their group ahead of tonight's second game against German heavyweights Augsburger Panther in Belfast (7.30pm).
"It was huge. We know we have a good team in that locker room and that validated it," praised Smotherman.
"That's not to say we don't have a big challenge ahead of us, but it was nice to get the win in the first one and show the rest of Europe we're here to play."
Having played in Germany with the Iserlohn Roosters, Smotherman is one of the few players on the Giants roster who has first-hand experience of facing Augsburg, and he knows they'll be a big test for Adam Keefe's side, particularly after they had a shock result of their own, defeating Swedish side Lulea in a shoot-out in their opening game.
"Momentum is key in any type of tournament like this. We know Augbsurg will come in here and be a fast team, they hunt pucks hard," warned Smotherman.
"I got to play them last year and I know they'll come in here ready to go. They'll be stronger on the puck (than Liberec), they're going to forecheck hard, but they'll also be a fast team.
"But we come to win games. You never play this game to lose, so (going two-from-two) is our goal going into Saturday night."