Belfast Telegraph

Giants can still conjure up magic for fans, insists Riley

Belfast Giants captain Blair Riley scored a hat-trick
Belfast Giants captain Blair Riley scored a hat-trick

By Stuart McKinley

Blair Riley has promised Belfast Giants fans that he and his team-mates are going all out to give them some 'magical moments'.

And despite sitting nine points behind Elite League leaders Cardiff Devils, they are determined to make them happen this season.

Driven by last season's failure to deliver silverware when they finished runners-up in the league and lost in the semi-finals of both the Challenge Cup and play-offs, Riley is among those players who remember that feeling of disappointment and he is adamant the team are still fighting for silverware on three fronts.

"It's not an ideal situation being nine points behind in the league and we need some help now from other teams," said Riley, ahead of tonight's home clash with the Edinburgh Capitals.

"The important things for us is to do our part, make sure we win our games and then win the games against Cardiff so that we have a chance if they do slip up.

"We have to have the mindset that we're still fighting for the league until it's out of reach.

"Obviously we would like to be where Cardiff are, but they have been very good for two seasons now.

"Our situation is similar to last year in that we finished second to Cardiff, lost to them in the Challenge Cup and then missed out in the play-offs too.

"We don't want that to happen again, we don't want that feeling again and there are still a lot of guys on the team from last year who want to make sure it's not like that this time.

"We are in the Challenge Cup final, we have the play-offs to come and we have to get into that mode and try to make some magical moments for the fans and the team this season."

The Giants will be fancied to collect four points from this weekend's home double-header, which sees them face Milton Keynes Lightning tomorrow after this evening's battle with Edinburgh.

The two teams currently occupy the bottom two places in the Elite League table, but Riley is warning that the attitude must be the same for this weekend as it will next week, when the Sheffield Steelers and Cardiff are the opponents.

"Edinburgh have been short of bodies and it's been a while since we played Milton Keynes, but we have had a couple of close games against them," said the Giants captain.

"With the Challenge Cup final coming up in two weeks' time, we have to get into the right way of playing and we have to treat every game with the same level of importance.

"We weren't at our best against Dundee on Wednesday night, but we still got the job done.

"When you're playing well you find ways to win games and that's the mode that we want to get into."

Belfast Telegraph


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