Belfast Telegraph

Giants have nearly located last piece of the jigsaw, insists Keefe

 

Impact player: Giants' Rickard Palmberg (right) celebrates
scoring against Glasgow Clan
Impact player: Giants' Rickard Palmberg (right) celebrates scoring against Glasgow Clan
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe believes they're close to finding the key to success this season after returning from their Christmas break with back-to-back wins over the Glasgow Clan at the weekend.

The Giants made it three wins on the spin for the first time since the start of November with their 4-1 victory over the Clan at the Braehead Arena on Saturday, which followed Friday's 5-1 hammering of the same side at the SSE Arena.

That leaves the Giants at 17-9-2 on the season and third in the Elite League standings, four points behind leaders the Sheffield Steelers but with two games in hand over their rivals.

Also pleasing for Keefe will be the form of his new signings Elgin Pearce, who has scored at least a point in all four games he's played for the Giants, and Rickard Palmberg, who has three goals and seven points in his last three matches in teal.

And ahead of their third game in four days tonight when they welcome the Dundee Stars to the SSE Arena (face-off 7pm), Keefe is confident that his side are close to unlocking that crucial formula that could help them mount a push to retain their Elite League crown in the second half of the season.

The Canadian head coach said: "We're trying to find consistency here. We talked after Christmas about how this is the second half of the season now.

"Throughout the first half of the year we figured out what kind of a team we are, what's our identity, what makes us successful. We had 14 new players coming into the season, and obviously we've chopped and changed a bit here as well, so it's a new group.

"But I think we've got a handle on how we will have success and now it's about applying that and having a bit more consistency in the second half."

The victory over the Clan in Glasgow on Saturday was the Giants' second away win in a row in Scotland having defeated the Fife Flyers before the Christmas break, and their first triumph at the Clan this season.

American forward David Goodwin grabbed a double while Curtis Hamilton and Curtis Leonard also found the twine in the victory, which was backstopped by 23 saves from the returning Shane Owen in goal.

"We knew Glasgow would push back. They're in a rut right now but coming back home for their Christmas game, we thought it would be a tough one and it was," admitted Keefe.

"What I liked about our game was that we saw it out. It was our travel day and I could see a lot of fatigue kicking in, but the guys stuck with it throughout the game, especially in the third period."

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