PLAYER of the month Sam McCluskey has tipped Hull Stingrays to bounce back from their Belfast Giants disappointment by posting a Yorkshire derby success over Sheffield Steelers on Saturday night.
Stingrays welcome the defending Elite League champions to Hull Arena bidding for their first win in the Challenge Cup this term.
They are at home again 24 hours later when Cardiff Devils – last season’s league and play-off runners-up – visit.
Last Sunday, Stingrays saw their three-match winning run ended by Giants, who scored twice in the final four minutes to run out 3-1 victors in Hull.
The game-winning goal came courtesy of a huge deflection of McCluskey, who said: “It was one of those bounces which has happened a few times to us this season. We just did not have the luck.
“We battled back in the second period and equalised and we put a bit of pressure on Belfast. It could have gone either way.
“But we have two games at home this weekend. We have not had the best of starts in the cup so hopefully we can get some wins and climb up the table.
“We have started to come together in the past few weeks and there is no reason why we can’t take points off them. Cardiff were beaten by Dundee on penalty shots last week so that has to give us some encouragement.”
McCluskey, signed in the summer from Dundee, was rewarded for some consistent displays by picking up the player of the month award on Sunday.
He added: “It is a good award to receive and I was quite surprised to get it. I am really enjoying it here. The start of the season knocked everyone’s confidence but we have got our confidence back and I have been pleased with my game.”