Elite League preview: Walser wants repeat performances

Belfast Giants’ Player/Coach Derrick Walser wants his team to use last Saturday’s Elite League victory over Coventry Blaze as their benchmark for the rest of the season.

The Giants put Friday’s lacklustre display against Blaze behind them with a power-packed performance the following day to secure a 4-1 win and Walser wants more of the same against Braehead Clan and Cardiff Devils this weekend.

“Friday’s game was just a disappointment – we came out flat and the guys got the message,” said Walser.

“We’ve got a veteran crew. We’ve got a lot of guys with character in there and the guys stepped up – everyone stepped up and did a great job.

“It was a team effort – we played exactly how we’ve been playing on the road and it proved that when we did it right we’re going to be a great team, when we don’t do it we’re going to struggle.

“I think we’ve shown everyone how we can play, so we’ve got to make it every time we play that we come out with that effort and we’ll win a lot more than we lose.

“When you work hard good things will happen – if you outwork a team there’s a better chance of winning than just relying on your skill.”

Fife Flyers head into a weekend double-header against Dundee Stars aiming to end a four-game losing streak.

The Flyers have lost twice to both Braehead and Sheffield Steelers in the past two weeks and Head Coach Todd Dutiaume has demanded a reaction from his players.

“This is a make-or-break time for this club,” he told Fife Today.

“These are two big games in our Conference and we’re on the back of a four game loser, so if there’s any time for a sense of desperation from your team, you would hope they recognise the importance of this weekend and come out up for it.

“By no means will showing up result in us winning the hockey games – Dundee are a good hockey club and are taking teams right to the wire every week. They are going to be formidable opponents.

“We’re really going to need to bring our best and find a way to start winning these games.”

Nottingham Panthers return to league action this weekend bouyed by their progression to the next stage of the Continental Cup.

The Panthers host Edinburgh Capitals on Saturday before travelling to Braehead the following day and Head Coach Corey Neilson is expecting a tough test from both teams.

“We expect to win every game – it doesn’t mean that will happen,” Neilson told the Nottingham Post.

“We hope to put in a good performance against Edinburgh – by all accounts they’re pretty strong right now so we’ll be ready.

“In terms of Braehead, every team goes through spells. Their spell is at the start of the season.

“I hope they are still in that spell and we get by them on Sunday. They’re a team that can score goals. It’s a matter of where we want to play the game.

“We want to play the game in their offensive zone rather than ours.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Belfast Giants v Braehead Clan
Manchester Storm v Cardiff Devils
Nottingham Panthers v Edinburgh Capitals
Sheffield Steelers v Coventry Blaze (Cup)
Fife Flyers v Dundee Stars

Sunday

Coventry Blaze v Sheffield Steelers
Braehead Clan v Nottingham Panthers
Cardiff Devils v Belfast Giants
Edinburgh Capitals v Manchester Storm
Dundee Stars v Fife Flyers

(Image permission: Press Eye)

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