Belfast Telegraph

Harsh truths can help Giants step up: Ward

ice hockey

Looking up: Brian Ward
Looking up: Brian Ward
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

As another opportunity to close the gap at the top of the Elite League passed them by at the weekend, time may be running out for the Belfast Giants.

Having done half of the hard work by beating league leaders the Sheffield Steelers 4-2 on Friday, that was undone when the Giants fell to a 4-1 reverse at the Guildford Flames on Sunday.

That, coupled with the Steelers bouncing back with a win over the Glasgow Clan, means the Giants are right back where they began, and no less frustrated at their inability to find a run of consistent results.

Adam Keefe's side have been unable to string together more than three wins on the bounce since a run of six in a row in early November, and that has led to some honest reflection within the changing room.

Centre Brian Ward, who scored the Giants' only goal in Guildford, admitted: "There have been some harsh truths said.

"We know in the games we're losing that we're still right there, it's just that tiny margin of error. It can be a little play or a little mental mistake that's costing us a game. We need to tighten up.

"It's the little things. We've talked about it, we need to bring 100% focus every night."

Seven points behind the Steelers, especially with two games in hand, is not an insurmountable gap for the Giants to bridge, but the team are aware they simply have to find a way to replicate their form from one night to the next, particularly with a trip to Sheffield looming on Sunday.

"Every two points is important right now, especially because it's a tight race," added leading scorer Ward, who has 16 goals and 38 points so far this season.

"Now we know our weekends from here on out. We've got four points in a week, so if we don't get at least three or four from that, it's definitely frustrating."

• JUNIOR Belfast Giants player Mack Stewart has the chance of a gold medal in the 3-on-3 mixed tournament at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Stewart, son of Belfast Giants assistant Rob, takes part in the gold medal game with his Red team at 12.30pm UK time today.

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