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Murphy wants Belfast Giants play-off medal to cap awards

The accolades have been rolling in for Stephen Murphy in the last week.

Named as the Elite League’s top goaltender — which automatically saw him elected to the Ice Hockey Journalists’ All-Star team — the Dundee-born shot-stopper has yet one more prize in his sights.

Having missed out on the Elite League title by a point, the Giants are now pursuing the Play-off title with gusto and with Murphy on-form they have a goaltender they can rely on.

The All-Star nomination came hot on the heels of Murphy being named as the Giants Player of the Year and he will now put pressure on Jody Lehman and Stevie Lyle for the Great Britain starting slot when the World Championship series starts in Slovenia in three weeks time.

First though are back-to-back battles with the Newcastle Vipers and the hope that silverware will be collected in Nottingham on Easter Sunday.

“Everyone in the team is focused on trying to end the season on a high by winning something,” said Murphy, who was joined on the All Star teams by three of his team-mates, forwards Colin Shields and Jeff Szwez and defenceman Michael Jacobsen.

“We still have a lot to play for even though we couldn’t win the league and this is another big weekend for us.

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“We’ve had a lot of big weekend’s lately and we know how to handle them now. This one though is really big.”

Murphy has excelled between the pipes for the Giants this season — breaking the club record for the most shut-outs in one campaign — and he is set to seal a deal that will bring him back to the Odyssey next season.

“I was really happy to break the record, although I didn’t know much about it before it happened,” he said.

“It is nice to have the record and good for my confidence that I’ve won a couple of awards, but I want to be part of a successful team too.

“I had back-to-back shut-outs a few weeks ago and that was a great feeling. Now I am looking forward to coming back next season.”

Elite League's first All-Star team: Stephen Murphy (Belfast Giants), Jonathan Weaver (Coventry Blaze), Wes Jarvis (Cardiff Devils), Jade Galbraith (Nottingham Panthers), Colin Shields (Belfast Giants), Luke Fulghum (Coventry Blaze).

Elite League's second All-Star team: Peter Hirsch (Coventry Blaze), Corey Neilson (Nottingham Panthers), Michael Jacobsen (Belfast Giants), Jeff Szwez (Belfast Giants), Owen Fussey (Edinburgh Capitals), Greg Chambers (Coventry Blaze)

Belfast Giants IHJUK Award winners: Top British points-scorer: Colin Shields, Best British goaltender: Stephen Murphy, Best British forward: Colin Shields, Best British young player: Craig Peacock.

Belfast Giants players in Great Britain squad: Nathan Craze, Stephen Murphy, Shane Johnson, Kevin Phillips, Graeme Walton, Craig Peacock, Colin Shields.

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