Belfast Giants will win ugly as squad feels pinch
The edges of the Odyssey Arena seats are likely to be safe for the next few weeks as Belfast Giants coach Doug Christiansen prepares fans for no frills hockey for the rest of this year — and possibly beyond.
Like the supporters, however, Christiansen is still demanding wins from his team despite the depleted nature of his squad.
With Benoit Doucet out for the season, Robert Dowd, James Hutchinson and Darryl Lloyd injured and Aaron Clarke suspended until January the Giants were only able to list 13 skaters on the teamsheet as they battled to a 5-4 victory over the Dundee Stars on Saturday night.
And with Brock McBride bidding farewell to Belfast by scoring a goal and then assisting on all of the other four, that might be down to 12 for the visit of the Edinburgh Capitals on Friday night.
“I told the guys after the game that when I watch the game back I know there will be things that we need to improve on, but the emphasis right now is on winning and it doesn’t really matter how we do that,” said Christiansen.
“We gave up four goals to Dundee and home and it’s not okay to do that. We’re down a number of players and we’ll make it very hard to win games if we give up that many goals.
“The guys still need to have that desperation and desire to win games and nobody can take a night off.
“If anything it’s the exact opposite. On Saturday night Graeme
Walton came up with the first goal and we need guys like him, Nick Kuiper and Adam Keefe to be contributing.
“If they are able to chip in with a goal a game over the next four games it will help make up for the loss of the players who are out.”
Although McBride had already agreed his deal with Olimpija Ljubljana he hadn’t completed his two-week notice period before Saturday’s game and therefore didn’t have a choice over playing.
As it was McBride didn’t hold anything back as set up Walton for the first goal before making it |2-0 himself and then assisting as Jon Pelle made it 3-1 at the end of the first period which the Giants dominated, after Chris Zarb had pulled a goal back.
McBride and Pelle created the Giants fourth for Jeremy Rebek, with Jeff Hutchins replying for Dundee.
Jarrett Konkle scored twice either side of a second Pelle goal, with McBride and Keefe assisting and that goal proved to be the Giants’ winner.