Double-header with Devils will not decide title, insists Garside
Defence man Mark Garside insists the Belfast Giants' double-header against the Cardiff Devils this weekend won't decide the Elite League title race, but they are confident they can do the double over the defending champions.
The Giants, fresh off their heartbreaking Continental Cup final defeat, head to the Viola Arena for a crucial two-game meeting with the Devils five points behind their closest title rivals in what is now a two-horse race for top spot.
However, the Giants do have a game in hand, and if they could get both wins this weekend then they'd pull back to just a point adrift.
"I believe we're good enough to win both games, and we're going in there thinking that," says Garside.
"There's still a lot of hockey to be played either way, so no matter what the results either way, both sides will be going for the title right up to the end.
"They've played one game more than us. We had a poor December which allowed them to catch up with us but there's still 25 games left to go so hopefully we can catch up to them a bit this weekend."
The last time the two sides met in Cardiff, a brilliant performance saw Belfast run out 8-1 winners, but Garside is not expecting a similar game.
"It's so long ago that it's almost been forgotten about, and it was one of those games where we had a good night and they had a bad night," he says.
"We've seen them since in our building, they're a really good hockey team and we'll have to bring our best to win."
Garside also thinks that the pain of that shootout loss to Arlan Kokshetau in the final of the Continental Cup will drive the team on to more success this season.
The GB international adds: "The disappointment is fresh and guys are angry at losing, so we're now keen to push on three fronts - the league, the cup and the play-offs."