British Ice Hockey

Elite League preview: Walser staying positive despite defeat

Belfast Giants host Braehead Clan on Friday hoping to make an immediate return to winning ways as they continue to chase Cardiff Devils at the top of the Elite League.

Wednesday’s 2-1 home loss against Manchester Storm was the Giants’ first defeat in 11 games, but Player/Coach Derrick Walser believes his team will quickly bounce back.

“It’s been a lot of hockey and it looks like it just caught up to us – we did the best we could over the course of these last few weeks while trying to rest as much as possible,” Walser told Belfast Live.

“We’ve got to stay positive – we’ve gained a lot of ground and we have to start again from zero now.”

“It’s always tough and we still have a lot of hockey here to go and now it’s all about focusing on Braehead.

“We need to make sure we’re ready to go against Braehead, who play very similar to Manchester, and we have to be up for it.”

Sheffield Steelers are also on a recovery mission after losing twice against big rivals Nottingham Panthers over Christmas.

The Steelers face Manchester home and away this weekend and Head Coach Paul Thompson admits they’re a dangerous opponent.

“They continually spring surprise results, because they are a good team with good players,” he told the Sheffield Star.

“It’s not easy to play in their little rink – it’s the only one in the country now of that size. We have to adjust and change our game.

“They won down in Cardiff, so I think that tells you on any given night if you’re not playing to your potential, whoever you are, it can go the wrong way.

“We have to be ready and prepared for Manchester Storm and we will be.”

Fife Flyers visit Edinburgh Capitals on Saturday aiming to record their third victory in six days.

The Flyers followed up Monday’s 9-3 success over the Capitals with a 5-3 win at Dundee Stars two days later and Head Coach Todd Dutiaume believes the performances proved his team’s quality.

“We know we have a good group here – we’ve just got to get them playing right and Boxing Day was a glimpse of what they can do,” he told Fife Today.

“There’s always room for improvement, but I was glad to see us get a comfortable win, and relieve some pressure.

“We have such a talented team that the talent can sometimes get away from what was making us successful, and we end up getting in a track meet, going back-and-forth, end-to-end.

“That’s not the game or style we want to play – we want to be direct and when we are, that’s when we’re successful.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Friday

Belfast Giants v Braehead Clan

Saturday

Edinburgh Capitals v Fife Flyers
Nottingham Panthers v Coventry Blaze
Sheffield Steelers v Manchester Storm

Sunday

Cardiff Devils v Dundee Stars
Manchester Storm v Sheffield Steelers

(Image permission: Press Eye)

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