Manchester Storm make their first trip of the season to Belfast on Friday night, part of a double-header which will see them face the Giants again on Saturday evening.
The teams are part of a four-way tie of teams on 17 points – the other two being Coventry and Dundee – ranked from fourth to seventh, with the Storm and Giants in the middle of that pack. Whoever wins tonight will go level in third.
The Giants, who have had a disappointing start to the season by their standards, find themselves .500 through 17 games. They ended a two-game loss streak with last Friday’s win over Nottingham, before going down to Coventry in overtime – a team they then tied with on Wednesday in the Challenge Cup. Manchester ended a lengthy losing run last Saturday with a shutout win over Fife.
Storm released forward Santeri Haarala midweek after a return of seven points in 16 fixtures this season. Belfast, meanwhile, were able to welcome Jackson Whistle back to the bench midweek after time out injured.
Just over a year ago, Storm ended their three-year wait for a win in Belfast by taking four points out of their double-header against the Giants.