Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants aim for hat-trick

By Stuart McKinley

Doug Christiansen wants his players to send out a message to the rest of the Elite League by making it a hat-trick of wins over the Nottingham Panthers this weekend.

Following up last Friday night’s shoot-out win in Nottingham with two more victories over the Panthers in an Odyssey Arena double-header tonight and tomorrow would be a real statement of intent from the Giants — despite being overtaken at the top of the table by the Cardiff Devils.

“I said before we played Nottingham last week that if either team won all three games it would be massive,” said Christiansen.

“We are in a position to do that now and that’s what we’ll be trying to do — especially in front of our own fans who deserve a good night after what happened over Christmas.

“If we can win both games this weekend it will send out a massive message, not just to Nottingham, but Cardiff and Sheffield, that we are capable of going all the way.”

And it isn’t just in football where coaches and managers can throw out clever analogies.

Christiansen has joined the likes of Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez and Carlo Ancelotti in his description of the tussle for the Elite League title.

“This is the business end of the season and right now our games are like a snowball that is rolling down the hill,” said Christiansen.

“They just keep getting bigger and bigger, but that’s what we’re here for and the players that I signed are good enough and experienced enough to cope with the situation.”

Christiansen could soon have the luxury of having a full strength line-up to call upon again too. Colin Hemingway’s return after a long-term injury is imminent. He will be checked before tonight’s game and if he doesn’t play this weekend then it is all but certain that he will ice against Sheffield next Saturday.

The injury that has kept Tim Cook out of the last couple of games will keep him in the stands tonight.

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