Published Wednesday, 07 March 2012
Belfast Giants coach Doug Christiansen reflects on his team's chances. (© Michael Cooper)
A home win would put the Giants in a good position going into the second leg in Nottingham next Tuesday and another victory there would leave them returning the favour of celebrating on their rivals' ice.
"Obviously, we lost it to them last year, so we'll be looking for a little bit of revenge," Giants star Craig Peacock told UTV.
"Everything's going great in the league campaign, but our focus right now is to establish a good lead in this first leg - we want to use our dominance that we showed at the weekend."
Cup success for the Giants would be only their second time holding the title after their 2009 win, while the Panthers are seeking their third Cup in four years.
"Every single thing that Nottingham have done in the last three or four weeks has been in preparation for this Challenge Cup, so I expect their best hockey," Giants coach Doug Christiansen said.
"I expect this game to be some of the best hockey seen at the Odyssey all year - I hope our fans come out in droves."
The Giants will be without the services of Darryl Lloyd and James Hutchinson, who are both making good progress as they recover from injuries.
While Lloyd won't be ready for the game against the Panthers, he did start skating again last week and had his first full practice with the team on Monday. Hutchinson missed that practice session, but it's hoped he'll make his return this weekend.
The puck drops in Wednesday night's game at the Odyssey Arena at 7.30pm.
© UTV News