After taking another significant blow in their attempts to defend their Elite League title with a 4-1 loss at the Sheffield Steelers on Sunday, head coach Adam Keefe trotted out a familiar line as to why his Belfast Giants dropped another game.
"I thought we had a good effort (on Sunday). Sheffield just scored their chances and we didn't," sighed the Giants head coach, and it wasn't for the first time this season either.
Despite out-shooting the Steelers 30-27 over the course of three periods at the FlyDSA Arena, the Giants managed to beat Tomas Duba only once, while at the same time running a dismal 0-for-6 powerplay in falling to 26-16-3 and losing the season series 2-4-0 to Sheffield.
The problem is that these issues have been persistent throughout the season. Keefe's Giants are currently ranked seventh in goals per game (3.00) and ninth on the powerplay (15.34%), neither of which is conducive of a title-winning team, and both of which have plagued them throughout a frustrating campaign.
"We could have used a powerplay goal (on Sunday). I have to take responsibility for that, special teams are on the coaches and it just wasn't good enough," admitted Keefe.
"For the most part I liked our effort. For large portions of the game we were good, but when we got the opportunity to either gain the lead or put us back into it, we weren't able to capitalise. Giving up that third and fourth goal really hurt us.
"We need to find a way to start scoring some more goals."
As a result, Keefe's men have a lot of ground to make up with just nine games left. The Giants currently trail the league-leading Steelers by six points in the Elite League standings, while they are also in arrears to the Cardiff Devils, who have two games in hand on them, by five.
The Giants are back in action on Friday when they welcome the Guildford Flames to the SSE Arena for the first of a seven-game stretch of home matches as they look to claw their way back into the title race.