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Why Elite League is missing out from lack of full play-off series, explains Belfast Giants coach Keefe


By Stuart McKinley

Adam Keefe believes fans are missing out on extra excitement because of the Elite League's shortened play-off format.

The Belfast Giants coach, however, sees how the unique nature of the British play-off system can make the taste of success all the sweeter.

Keefe leads the Giants into the first game of a two-legged quarter-final against the Panthers at the SSE Arena tonight, with the return in Nottingham on Sunday, and although the teams have already faced each other 10 times this season, more meetings would bring more intensity and entertainment.

"I think that the league here is missing out on something by not having a full play-off series like in North America," said Keefe.

"When you see back-to-back games and potentially playing each other seven times in 10 or 14 days, rivalries grow pretty fast.

"They are intense, and the players and fans are on edge.

"I understand the reasons as to why it can't happen here and the logistics - the big arena teams can't get the dates they need at the drop of a hat - but I think even if the quarter-final stages were a best of three games it would add something."

Keefe experienced semi-final defeat last season and suffered losses in back-to-back finals in 2013 and 2014.

After winning the Challenge Cup this month, he is hungry to add a second piece of major silverware in a season - something the Giants haven't done before.

"We have four games to play for a Championship, any time you are that close it's exciting," said Keefe. "We know it will be a battle, and to win the play-offs you've got to be playing at the top of your game for four games.

"You've got to be desperate and passionate."

Jackson Whistle will return to the line-up, giving Keefe a full roster bar long-term injury absentee Mark Garside.

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