Belfast Telegraph

Challenge Cup win is for 'unbelievable' fans and Belfast Giants aren't done yet: Keefe

 

Adam Keefe dedicated last night's Belfast Giants' Challenge Cup success to their fans and the city of Belfast after the team's resounding 6-3 victory over Cardiff Devils.

As well as ending a four-year Giants trophy drought, Keefe won his first piece of silverware as a coach in his first season in charge.

His first reaction was to praise fans who travelled through adverse weather conditions to Cardiff.

"We knew we had a great chance. We knew that with the group of players we have, this was a real good opportunity to win a trophy. Our fans were unbelievable in helping us achieve that," said Keefe.

"Some of them had been travelling since Saturday and with the weather, they weren't even sure that we were going to be here. They weren't sure if there was going to be a game.

"I am extremely happy for the city of Belfast to be back on the map as a trophy winning team. I'm super proud of the players and of the Teal Army.

"We started great but they overwhelmed us a bit and got a lucky goal. That was the message going into the second - the travel legs are gone, they got a lucky goal but now we go.

"Slowly but surely we got it back. I can't wait to watch the third period - clinical. We played in their zone for half that period - that's frustrating for a team that'd down a goal in a Championship game.

"I'm super proud of the players and of the Teal Army."

Keefe made the move from captain to coach in May last year and is determined to land more than one trophy in his first season in charge.

He said: "You always doubt yourself going into certain scenarios. I'm new and have made a lot of mistakes but to bring a trophy to Belfast - that's what we set out to do.

"We're not done. We want another one. We're not stopping. The league might be out of reach but the other two aren't. We're going to enjoy this week and then we go again."

How the players reacted

Matt Towe: "Steve Saviano did all the hard work - I just had to put my stick there. This is my first trophy in this league so I'm over the moon. All year we've battled against injuries and suspensions. To play like we did against a fantastic Cardiff side, it shows that, while the league is out of our hands, there are always the play-offs and we're going out for every trophy.

Jackson Whistle: "It's an amazing feeling. It's awesome the fans came all this way. We hear them all night. They were the fifth line out there and we love it. Coming here, I wanted to win a trophy and we've done it."

Blair Riley: "The fans (have) been sending wishes to us all week. They wanted it as bad as we did. It's an amazing scene and they deserve it. We've been through ups and downs but to be able to come out like this and get it done - incredible."

Belfast Telegraph

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