Belfast Telegraph

Sylvestre is willing to go extra mile in title mission

 

By Stuart McKinley

Defiant Sebastien Sylvestre is determined that the Belfast Giants' Elite League title aspirations will not be hit by travel sickness.

The unique nature of the Giants' road schedule, where every away game involves either a flight or a ferry to take them across the Irish Sea, is something that Sylvestre has grasped immediately after joining in the summer from the Elmira Jackals of the East Coast Hockey League.

It's just as well, given that so far Adam Keefe's team have played 12 of their 18 games away from Belfast and they are currently three games into a sequence of 19 matches which will see them play just three on home ice this side of Christmas.

"Brandon Benedict has been doing a great job for us. He is the travel co-ordinator, he plans the hotels, meals on the road," said Sylvestre of the man who also doubles up as a Giants team-mate.

"We're trying to focus on our games; we need to win more games.

"We said at the beginning of the season that we start the season with a lot of games on the road and we have to become a 'road warrior' team and try to win as many games on the road as we can."

After winning away to Braehead Clan and the Edinburgh Capitals, it's back to Scotland for two more matches this weekend, with a trip to the Dundee Stars tonight and the Fife Flyers tomorrow.

There has been no sign of the travelling having a negative impact on Sylvestre, with the 24-year-old already scoring seven goals in 12 appearances - the most important being the match-winning strike in Sheffield two weeks ago.

"I play with good players, it's just so easy," said Sylvestre.

"I feel like I like it so much here that it makes it easy, it's fun to come to the rink and work hard and maybe that's why I have so much success right now."

After three seasons in the ECHL, Sylvestre was tempted to Northern Ireland by Keefe back in July.

Already it is proving a shrewd signing, with the player enjoying himself off the ice as well as on it, under a coach he is comfortable with.

"This place is amazing, I love it so much and the league is better than I thought it would be," said the Quebec native.

"People said that there are a lot of older guys and the game may be slower than the East Coast League because the ice is bigger, but there are a lot of really good players.

"It's a good opportunity to come here and this league has some really good players and good teams and it's been a really good experience for me.

"The coach is so close to the guys because he was playing last year.

"He understands how we feel and he understands the game as much as we do.

"We feel pretty comfortable talking to him; talking about players, talking about settlement, talking about anything. I feel he's doing a good job."

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