The Stena Line Belfast Giants begin their Continental Cup campaign on Friday afternoon in Bremerhaven, Germany – the reward for clinching the 2013/14 Elite League championship in what was a record breaking season for the organisation – lifting the trophy in February with still ten games to play. Friday’s game sees the Giants take on the Tilburg Trappers of the Netherlands, beginning three games in as many nights for the Giants, with Saturday pitting Belfast against CSKA Sofia of Bulgaria before facing hosts, Bremerhaven, on Sunday.
Steve Thornton, Head of Hockey Operations, gave his thoughts on the upcoming games following the team’s Thursday morning practice in Bremerhaven and despite the talk of a ‘Sunday showdown’ against the host team, for now his priority is on the games on Friday andSaturday:
“The Bulgarian team has brought in some Russian players to add to their roster with both KHL and NHL experience, so they will be a challenge – playing four lines and coming at us hard,” said Thornton. “Playing three games in three nights will definitely play a factor in this tournament, but we’re hoping the Sunday game (against Bremerhaven) is the ‘decider’, but we certainly do not want to get ahead of ourselves.”
— Belfast Giants (@BelfastGiants) October 16, 2014
The Elite League champions arrive in Germany leading the League and on a three game winning streak and will be hopeful of a good run in this Continental Cup group:
“We’ve had a pretty good week of practice – good tempo, tape-to-tape passes which was good to see and I hope to see the same kind of chemistry tomorrow (against Tilburg)”
The Head of the Giants organisation knows that his side will have to adapt their game in order to succeed in this tournament and will lean on the experience of players in the squad that have played here previously:
“The European game is a different game and the guys understand that. We still want to play our style, be physical, get pucks deep and win battles, but we need to be careful about getting ‘on top’ of the referees and making sure we finish our hits in the play not after the play because we will have penalties called against us. The guys in the team who have played in European hockey understand that and it will be a good test to see how they handle themselves during these games.”
All three games in Bremerhaven, Germany will be broadcast LIVE in Laverys Bar, Belfast. For more information visit the Giants Official website – www.BelfastGiants.com.
— Love Belfast ❤️ (@love_belfast) October 16, 2014
— Petrina Foley sculli (@offalygirlin) October 16, 2014