Belfast Telegraph

Individually and collectively, we're letting the side down, fumes Keefe

Fed up: Adam Keefe has demanded improvement
Fed up: Adam Keefe has demanded improvement
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

It was a tired and exasperated Adam Keefe that stood outside the Belfast Giants locker room at the Guildford Spectrum on Sunday evening, and you couldn't really blame him for it either.

His side had just slumped to another below-par display, this one a 4-1 loss to the Guildford Flames, and looked like a completely different side to that which had accounted for Elite League leaders, the Sheffield Steelers, at the SSE Arena only two days prior.

Keefe's men are still switching from night to night between a team that looks like title contenders and one that looks like it met for the first time an hour before face-off and, as a result, are still seven points behind the Steelers at the top of the standings.

The Giants have only notched three four-point weekends since November 9, an indictment of their inability to string together a run of results which has left them closer to the chasing pack than the top of the standings, and, unfortunately for Keefe, it's a problem he's had to flag plenty of questions about already this season.

Never one to raise his voice in interviews, the coach was, on the surface, as calm as ever at the Spectrum, but the words were volatile. Angry. Frustrated.

"I'm getting sick and tired of talking about it, to be honest," he fumed of the inconsistency.

"We have to make a decision as a group, and if that means making some sacrifices so we're ready for the whole weekend then, as a group, we have to make them.

"Half of our team was at their best (on Sunday), if not less."

For Keefe, however, the problem goes beyond the collective, with the coach admitting that some individuals need to buck up their ideas in the face of adversity.

Keefe has already proven this season he's not afraid to wield the axe on players who aren't performing - just ask Jean Dupuy, Jesse Forsberg and Patryk Wronka - and the possibility of that happening again isn't something that would come as much of a shock.

"To win this league, you need to be able to win twice in a weekend, and we have a lot of guys who can't do that," he added.

"Until we can find consistency individually, we can't find it as a group. We need to improve there. It's just not good enough.

"We're certainly slipping (in the league). It's not pretty. We need to get a grasp of this thing right now. It's January and we're still struggling with consistency.

"We need guys to step up and score some big goals, and if it isn't coming naturally then we need to go out there and earn it. Right now, we're not willing to earn it."

Message delivered, then.

• Belfast Giants pair Ben Lake and Paul Swindlehurst have been named in the Team GB roster for next month's round three Olympic qualifiers in Nottingham.

GB will face Estonia, Hungary and Romania at the Motorpoint Arena for a place at the final qualifiers in August.

Meanwhile, Junior Belfast Giants forward Mack Stewart won a silver medal in the 3-on-3 mixed tournament at the Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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