Mason back in the fold as Keefe calls for Giants to retain strong mindset
Adam Keefe wants his Belfast Giants players to take the same mentality that saw them claim back-to-back weekend wins over the Sheffield Steelers into another huge battle tonight - even though the make up of his team will be different.
The Giants face the Nottingham Panthers in a clash that sees the teams sitting second and third in the Elite League table go head-to-head at the National Ice Centre, and Jeff Mason will make a welcome return to the line-up after answering an SOS from Keefe.
Keefe's men will go into the game high on confidence after a 3-1 home win and a 2-0 away success against the Steelers, but Stephen Murphy and Dustin Johner are ruled out after leaving the ice injured on Sunday night.
Cole Jarrett and Spiro Goulakos are both facing disciplinary action, with reviews by the Department of Player Safety to come, so Mason has been drafted in to bolster the defence.
"I have seen some of Nottingham in the Champions Hockey League and they have had some big results in that," said Keefe.
"They have also had some let downs in the league, but they will always be a top team in this league and it will always be a huge game when we go there.
"We have to go with the same mindset that we took into the two games against Sheffield last weekend and hopefully we can get the same result."
Mason didn't re-sign for the Giants in the summer, but he has made his home in Belfast since marrying a local girl and having a family and, rather than scouring Europe, or even further afield, for a player to fill a gap, Keefe has wisely looked closer to home and to a player he knows and trusts.
"Bringing Jeff Mason back was a no brainer," said Keefe.
"He's a local guy now that has been loyal to this team and this city.
"He's a very reliable player that works hard and puts the team first. I know I can rely on him in any situation."
Murphy's absence will mean that Jackson Whistle will start in goal tonight, as well as for the weekend games at home to the Edinburgh Capitals and away to Manchester Storm.