Belfast Giants coach Adam Keefe says the club’s fans can play a part ahead of their top of the table double header with Cardiff Devils, starting tonight.
The Giants are three points behind in second place, but two regulation time wins could see them edge ahead of the current champions in what promises to be two massive games.
And the home coach also spoke of how veteran netminder Stephen Murphy’s Testimonial gave them a more relaxed approach going into two potentially season defining games.
“It goes without saying we’re certainly more comfortable having the home fans on our side,” he said. “They can give you that added adrenaline to help push you in the third period or even in the last minute.
“Having them there, it can give you an edge the other team may not have and we saw that in the Continental Cup.
“We saw how important it was in the final game when we got one back from being 2-0 down then the game-tying goal. We hope to use that to lean on in these two games.
“But this week was nice to see some players from the past and it allowed us to let the shoulders down after a stressful loss on Sunday in Glasgow.
“It’s never nice to lose a hockey game, especially in the situation we’re in so it was nice to let them have some fun in Murph’s game earlier in the week.
“It allowed the guys to get back to enjoying it and letting it go before we start to focus on getting us back to winning ways.”
Keefe has so far led his team to their second straight Challenge Cup final and a berth in the Champions Hockey League next season, despite finishing second in their Continental Cup.
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With the league title race so close between the two teams, he knows full well what’s required from his team if they are achieve it.
He admits losing 5-0 to Glasgow Clan was a setback, but is now demanding a big reaction as they look to close the gap on the Devils at least on Friday.
Keefe added: “It’s a long year and there’s still lots of hockey to be played so we’ve got Cardiff coming to play us in two games this weekend and we just have to turn our focus on them.
“It’s always been a grind and a battle to try and win the league so to be involved in the chase to try and capture that success is great for us.
“Losing in Glasgow was a setback, but there’s no point in dwelling on it. We can’t get those points back and on the night, we just weren’t at our best.
“Getting a reaction is very important to us and that’s what we want on Friday, but we’re facing a tough side in Cardiff Devils. They’re back to back champions for a reason and know what it takes to win so we’re in for a dogfight.”