By Kris Smith
Tonight, Stars travel to Ireland in their first of four away games this week, as they play in the second leg of the league cup quarter-finals.
The Kitmart Dundee Stars are coming off of a six-game winning streak that was abruptly ended by Sheffield Steelers on Sunday. A 3-2 overtime loss earned them one point and that was enough to move Dundee into seventh place and keep them in the play-off spots.
Reflecting on their late slip-up, Stars head coach Omar Pacha said: “I think we dominated the game and we played well for 58 minutes, we just could not seal the deal but all in all we picked-up a point.
“We were just unfortunate we could not score in that first period because I thought that was one of the best periods we have played all year.
“It is heart-breaking but I think we just have to learn to be successful when we play like we did in the first 15 minutes.”
Pacha said he is going to change things up for Tuesday’s second leg of the Challenge Cup quarter-finals, against Belfast Giants. The Canadian is going to play all of his players and give the younger guys more game time before they begin a triple header in England this weekend. Stars travel to Nottingham Panthers on Friday before heading south to Milton Keynes for another match with the Lightning on Saturday. Their weekend concludes with a game in Coventry against the Blaze on Sunday.
The first leg did not go to plan for Dundee as they conceded three goals in the opening twenty minutes before Adam Keefe’s men added four more in the second period and one more in the third to round off the scoring. Belfast’s goals came from David Rutherford (2), Kyle Baun (2), Jonathan Ferland, Lewis Hook, Hunter Bishop and Jim Vandermeer.
Guillaume Gélinas, Colin Shields, Andrew Dickson, Patrick Dwyer and Matt Towe were all missing from the Giants line-up last Sunday but the Northern Irish side are also likely to play a slightly weaker side.
Looking ahead tonight’s match Pacha said: “We are going to put Sheepdog (Craig Holland) in the net, play everybody and maybe try a few different line combinations.
“The younger guys are going to expect a lot more ice time, probably Kris Inglis will not be in the line-up but everyone else will be.”
Stars back-up goaltender, Craig Holland will be given the start in nets and is looking forward to getting more ice time. He said: “They really help, practicing day in day out is great but getting the game time is what really helps you improve.”
Belfast have been a tough opponent for Dundee all season but they will still try to “keep the momentum” going, Holland added: “They are a fast-skilful team with good goaltending, so you can see why they are in the position they are but as we have shown before, we can compete with any team in the league.
“We have got to just go over and play for a result on the night, there is no point in dwelling on the first leg.
“So, we need to go over and try and keep the momentum we have had for the last couple of weekends and take it into the triple header.”
Tuesday’s second leg at the SSE Arena will face-off at 7pm.