By Kris Smith
Stars are looking to get their first win in the conference as they take on Edinburgh Capitals for the eighth time this season.
Tonight is a huge Gardiner Conference match for Dundee as they look to get back on track in the all-Scottish conference, it is also their annual teddy toss charity evening. It’s in aid of the Ninewells Children’s wards, TayFM Mission Christmas and Wave102 Help for Kids.
Dmitri Khristich’s side have claimed five wins over Stars to keep the pressure on the Tayside team, who sit nine points above the last place Caps. Dundee are yet to win a conference game and sit four points behind Edinburgh in the Gardiner Conference standings.
There is potential for Anthony Mastrodicasa to make his return tonight after two lengthy spells on the side-lines. Chris Lawrence is also nearing his time to be cleared for action once more as there is hope for him to be back in the line-up this side of Christmas but Ben Edmonds will still be missing as he is away representing Great Britain in the under 20’s World Championships.
Omar Pacha is hoping for a big turnout at the DIA for this huge conference game and charity night. He said: “It is a big conference game against the Caps, we need to get a win the conference and start winning more of those games.
“Every bit of support really helps the team and I am hoping for a big crowd tonight as it is a huge game for us and it is also a charity night, with the teddy bear toss.”
Riley Stadel has been key for Stars this season in both offence and defence, looking ahead to tonight’s game, he said: “Heading into tonight we want to improve on the last game, we didn’t have the best outing on Wednesday but we have learned from the mistakes against Sheffield.
“We are going into the Edinburgh game with a chip on our shoulder and we really want to win this game. If we stick to our systems and every guy is playing their role then we can do something positive.”
Dundee have been hit with some heavy score lines this season and Stadel believes tightening up at the back will help to produce more offence.
Riley added: “Defence is important part of hockey and offence comes from defence and we can’t be letting in five goals a game, we are trying to lower that to none but if we are positioned better defensively we can do good things up front.”
The Caps have put 25 goals past Dundee, who have only scored 15 goals against them across the seven previous meetings. In all eight of Dundee’s Elite League seasons both teams have met seventy times, Dundee have scored 270 goals against Edinburgh and they have netted 231 goals since 2010.
Malcolm Gould, Jimmy Jensen and Emerson Hrynyk have all put up three points against the Caps this year and look to continue their fine form. Gabriel Levesque is still Dundee’s top point scorer after netting 6 times and assisting on 21 goals in 32 games played this season.
Edinburgh have many dangermen on their roster this season and Mike Cazzola has been a threat to every team in the league since he joined the Lothian side in the summer. He leads his team in points and has put up 6 goals and 12 helpers for 18 points this season. The returning Pavel Vorobyev is second and trails him by 5 points.
Face-off is at 7:30pm tonight and tickets are still available from the DIA box office and online. It’s also a ‘Kids for a Quid’ special offer.