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Giants know what is required to snatch title, maintains Lake

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Ben Lake

Ben Lake

William Cherry/Presseye

Ben Lake

Even though they have only one game this weekend, the Belfast Giants know that if they pick up a vital win over basement side the Fife Flyers tonight at the SSE Arena (7pm) then they will claw back some ground on one of their Elite League title rivals.

Adam Keefe's side take on the Flyers in Belfast at the same time as the league's top two sides, leaders the Sheffield Steelers and the second-placed Cardiff Devils, meet at the Viola Arena in Cardiff, meaning that as long as the Giants get their job done, they're guaranteed to move closer to one of their opponents for the title.

The Giants currently trail the Steelers by five points having played one game fewer, but they may be rooting for the leaders tonight given that they are four points adrift of the Devils, who have played two games fewer than Keefe's men.

With the Nottingham Panthers also in the mix - they are on the same points as the Giants having played a game fewer, and come to the SSE Arena for a massive double-header next weekend - the Giants know that any more slip-ups in their remaining seven games could spell a premature end to their title defence.

Giants forward Ben Lake insists the team have a steely focus in knowing what is required to come from behind and snatch the title away from their rivals.

"Spirits are up. We know what's at stake every game now, so we're just focusing on every game as it comes. Anything less than two points in every game isn't good enough," said the Team GB international forward. "We haven't looked at the table. We're taking every game at a time. We've looked ahead and know we have some huge games remaining, but all we can do is take it one game at a time."

Lake himself has quietly impressed in recent weeks and is currently on a five-game scoring streak which has seen him amass a goal and five assists.

Alongside David Goodwin, who has seven points in his last four, the pair are the Giants' most dangerous scoring threats at the moment and their influence in front of goal will be key if the side are to mount a genuine Championship challenge.

"I feel like I'm doing what I can to help the team," said the dual Canadian-British national. "We've changed a few things with the lines, and I think myself, Wardo (Brian Ward) and Smo (Jordan Smotherman) looked pretty good at the weekend. Hopefully we can continue that and I can keep doing whatever I can to help the team get wins.

"It's never one thing you can pinpoint when you find chemistry with some guys. They're two good guys down low, and I have a bit more speed I can bring, so it's about supporting each other in all three zones. I thought we did that well at the weekend."

Crucially for the Giants, they have the benefit of their next five games being at home before they finish their season with two games on the road in Cardiff and the Coventry Blaze, and that could make a big difference if they can put together five wins at the SSE Arena.

"It's huge. Any time you're playing at home you expect to win," Lake added. "We have five games in a row at home, so we need to take as many points as we can. We know we'll have the crowd behind us. Hopefully we can put a good run together.

"(Fife) are a team fighting for their lives trying to get into the play-offs. It'll be no easy task, we know that. If we don't bring our best then we could be in for a really tough night, so we're just going to do anything we can to make sure we come out on top."

The Giants are among the sports teams who have been affected by Flybe going into administration, with the squad due to travel to Cardiff from Belfast City with the airline on March 28 for their penultimate game of the season, but those plans have had to be rescheduled as a result of Wednesday's news.

The Panthers have also been affected by Flybe's collapse, with the English side having to reschedule their travel plans for next weekend's double-header.

Belfast Telegraph