Belfast Telegraph

Cool heads will help Giants be more dangerous: Keefe

 

By Stuart McKinley

Adam Keefe has warned the Belfast Giants' Elite League title rivals that his team can get even better.

Elite League statistics show that the Giants are the second highest when it comes to taking penalties, with an average of 21 penalty minutes per game.

Despite that, they are the highest goalscorers, with an average of 4.2 goals per game in both league and Challenge Cup.

As the Giants try to cut the Cardiff Devils' five-point lead at the top of the Elite League table, Keefe wants his team to work on cutting the number of trips to the penalty box, with the belief that there will be even more goals - and in turn more victories - with a full complement of players on the ice.

"We know our discipline is an issue this season and if we don't figure it out for this long haul and at least cut them down it could cost us," said Keefe ahead of three games in as many nights, starting with a home double-header against Coventry Blaze followed by a trip to the Guildford Flames on Sunday.

"We play with passion, we play physically and I don't mind the odd penalty as a result of that.

"It's the unnecessary penalties, the retaliation penalties, the sticking penalties that have no bearing on the play. Those are the ones we need to cut out.

"We also need to realise the times in games when you need to just cut it right out and play safer; don't cross the line physically.

"You don't want to be that guy skating off the ice when you've cost your team a goal in a one-goal game. If we can figure that out and play more as a team and for the team instead of taking that retaliatory penalty or that lazy hooking call, we are going to be a pretty dangerous team."

This weekend is the third in a row that the Giants have faced a home double-header, after coming up against the Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers since the turn of the year.

It is a case of one game at a time for Keefe. He said: "Sometimes when you play a team back-to-back there can be adjustments or the team that comes out on top in the first one can take their foot off the gas and think they've done half the job.

"We can't be like that. We need some killer instincts, come out and establish the home-ice advantage and overwhelm teams in the first 10 minutes.

"We have the ability to do that with the guys we have and the speed and physicality in the team."

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