Derrick Walser says Belfast Giants can overcome a two-goal deficit against Cardiff Devils to reach the final of the Elite Challenge Cup.
The Devils lead 5-3 after the first leg, but the Giants’ Player/Coach is confident his team can knock out the reigning cup holders.
“It’s going to be a war, no holds barred – this is a one game playoff,” said Walser. “We are down by two goals and our biggest thing is to play smart and get the first goal. We have to go to the net and we have to make sure we ‘out battle’ them.”
“We are going to come out with some serious energy and go after it as much as we can – we are going to chase this down and leave it all out there.”
Giants have hit form at the right time, winning their last three Elite League games since the first leg and Walser believes they can continue in the same vein against the Devils.
“We are still improving – we had a bad dip at the wrong time and now we are on our way back up,” he added.
“We are starting to feel good and we are starting to win some games here. We are going into this on a high and there is no reason we cannot continue this high and go out there and beat Cardiff.”
“The home crowd against Nottingham last Friday were right behind us the whole game and it is important for them to get into it right away so that we come out with some gas and get the first goal.
“The fans getting behind us will help us out a lot and generate lots of energy.”
Giants’ captain Adam Keefe also recognised the part the fans could play in Tuesday’s game, and has challenged them to ramp up the noise as Giants chase their first Challenge Cup success since the 2008/09 season.
“It’s a play-off game and we believe in the dressing room that it is possible to come back and take that lead back – especially in our own arena,” said Keefe.
“We need a big start and we need to focus on being ready when the puck drops.”
“We are riding a few wins and our team needed that after the last month or so. Everyone feels good about themselves going into Tuesday’s game and that is a good thing.
“The addition of Jim (Vandermeer) has really helped our team and he makes us tougher to play against.”
“Expect a play-off atmosphere and obviously ‘be loud’ – we will feed off that energy.
“It is a play-off match and a trophy is on the line and so we are going to leave it all out there, regardless of the outcome everything is going to be left on the ice.”
The winners of the tie will face either Sheffield Steelers or Nottingham Panthers in the final on 6th March.
(Image permission: Andy Gibson)