Giants aim to up their game for domestic battles
While the Belfast Giants can take a lot of heart from their performance against Lulea on Tuesday night, it was, once again, another frustrating reflection on their early season inconsistency.
The Giants were knocked out of the Champions League after suffering a 6-3 loss to the Swedish side at the SSE Arena, but put in another courageous performance, which included an impressive third period comeback that, at one point, saw them make it a one-goal game.
But despite the strong display, it was another example of Belfast's streaky start as they continue to seek a string of good performances in the early season.
Being able to raise their game for a European tie is one thing, but so far this season the Giants have struggled to translate that into the same quality of performance in their domestic games, particularly on the road.
"We wake up for big games. We've seen an inconsistency where when we play these Champions League games, we get up for those. We play really well and we're able to come together and play with good habits," says defenceman Kevin Raine.
"Then we play against the likes of Dundee and the quality just isn't there. The habits we showed aren't there.
"It's about finding consistency. It's about showing up every night. We're a team where if we show up like that every night, we'll do very, very well domestically."
Winger Liam Reddox has spoken about how the team need to stick to their process in order to find success, and Raine concurs that it will be something along those lines that will see them start getting the results they need.
"It's a matter of looking at a video clip and saying, well, we can do it here, why can't we do this all the time? Let's do it all the time," adds the d-man.
"It might be a case of guys needing to be told. Sometimes guys get off the leash and do their own thing. It's about holding each other accountable."
This weekend there's no room for error. The Giants go to the Glasgow Clan for a double-header on Saturday and Sunday, with the first of the two games a must-win Challenge Cup clash if they want to make the knockouts.
"It's a big game. We're going to show up," insists Raine. "We did play well (against Lulea), and we'll take that momentum into the weekend."