Keefe is hungry to end Belfast Giants’ trophy drought
Adam Keefe has branded tonight’s Challenge Cup clash at home to the Fife Flyers as a ‘must-win game’ for his Belfast Giants team as they look to secure a quarter-final berth.
And what makes it an even bigger game for the coach is his desire to tick what has remained an empty box since his arrival in Belfast in 2011.
Two final defeats — both at the hands of the Nottingham Panthers — have Keefe hungry to get his hands on the trophy and the fact that the Giants have gone three full seasons without winning silverware for the first time in their history is also on his mind.
“It’s another big game for us and a must-win game,” said Keefe, who moved from captain to coach during the summer.
“We want to make the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup — 100 per cent.
“It’s another trophy that is up for grabs and it’s one that eluded myself during my time as a player, as well as those guys who have been here for a few years.
“We want to win it and we’ll be going out to win this game to take us a step closer to making that happen.”
Keefe has done his homework on the Flyers and the stats, which show the Giants failed to win in Fife last season, mean there is no room for complacency, especially against a team that has been scoring a high number of goals, registering seven twice and five on three occasions in their last seven games.
“We will need our best effort if we are going to win the game,” warned Keefe, who will hand a debut to defenceman Matt Bissonette after his arrival from Manchester Storm.
“They work hard and they have a high compete level, but at the same time we know what we need to do to be good and when we do that then I’m not worried about any other team.”
Last weekend, the Giants scored four unanswered goals in the final 32 minutes to come from 3-1 down to win 5-3 in Cardiff.
While that result and performance is a sign of the grit that Keefe wants to see in his team, he also wants an improvement in how his men start games.
“This is going to be like a play-off game and I’ll be looking for a solid first period,” said Keefe.
“A solid 20 minutes can set you up for the next 40 and if you can get in front it can be a big help, so we have to be on our game right from the drop of the puck.”
Fired up: Adam Keefe wants to see improvement from Giants