Five things we learned from the Belfast Giants' pre-season doubleheader
The Belfast Giants prepared for their Elite League title challenge with two wins over the University of Manitoba Bisons at the weekend.
Here we take a look at five things we learned about Adam Keefe's new look Giants after the weekend...
1. He was hyped up in training camp, but new netminder Tyler Beskorowany looks the real deal, the Canadian making 50 saves across the two games for a .943 save percentage, stopping two clear breakaways and a penalty shot. Of all the off-season signings, Beskorowany could be the pick of the bunch.
2. Speaking of new signings, how about Lewis Hook? Only 22-years old and fairly unheralded in comparison to other signings, the former Milton Keynes Lightning winger was busy on the ice and chipped in with two goals and an assist, suggesting he could be a key scoring asset to the Giants in a bottom-six role.
3. Four of Manitoba's five goals came on the powerplay, but penalty kill issues aren't too big a problem this early in the season, particularly with so many different combinations being tried by Keefe in the two games. On the flipside, just one even strength goal conceded in two games will be very pleasing for the coaching staff.
4. Whether it was over-confidence or just mis-reads, Sunday's game had too many defensive turnovers in key positions. Kendall McFaull and Dustin Johner were two who both threw pucks back in front of the net to opposition players, and on another day they could have been punished. The Giants were happy playing it out from the back, taking some risks, but there's a fine line between looking good and costing a goal.
5. If nothing else, this team will be fun to watch. With speed on the wings, a shutdown netminder tandem and plenty of skill among the forward ranks, there are going to be some spectacular plays across the season. And bear this in mind: if this is how good the team look in just their first two games together, what will it be like when they click?
Belfast Telegraph Digital