The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars have a chance to make club history as they could reach the semi-final stage of the Challenge Cup for the first time, but standing in their way are their arch rivals, Fife Flyers.

By Kris Smith

The Stars host their nemesis in the first leg tonight and both Tayside rivals are bidding to reach the last four for the very first time.

Dundee and Fife both took seven points from six group games and qualified out of Group A, where both clubs won against each other away from home.

A 3-0 victory in Kirkcaldy gave the Stars the perfect start to their cup campaign but the Flyers came back with a vengeance and stole a 5-2 win at the Dundee Ice Arena.

However, since then, the two foes have met twice more in league-play and both sets of points have went North of the River Tay as Dundee claimed a pair of 4-2 wins.

Leading the offence for the Stars has been Elijiah Barriga with three goals and six assists, whilst his line-mate, Philippe Sanche has posted four goals and four assists, across the four meetings, but Flyers Janne Kivilahti has also netted five times in the last three derbies.

 

 

Discussing the how his side will approach the first leg, Stars Head Coach, Jeff Mason said: “We know how we need to play against them, we have seen them quite a bit already this year and we know what makes us successful against them.

“It comes down to concentrating and being focused on the things that we need to do and things that we have discovered that make us a good hockey team.

“So, doing that but whilst still being aware that this is at least a six-period game and I have already talked to the boys about the importance of being dialled in from start to finish.

“I have seen teams in cup quarter-finals change the whole tie and turn it around through what seems like a meaningless goal late in the game or at any point.

“Therefore, that concentration level is very important for all six periods or however many it takes to get the job done, but obviously we want to come out fast and not give them many opportunities.”

 

 

With his side on home ice first, the American coach is hoping to put it to good use, adding: “We have played really well at home as of late, so to be able to start out at home, you want to take advantage of that and with the aggregate score, you ideally want to go into the second leg with a lead.

“As I said, we want to be a team that plays from the front, so it is important to get off to a good start and take advantage of playing in the DIA and in front of our fans.”

Mason was also keen to remind his players of their chance to write their names into the club’s history books.

He said: “I have told that to the guys and they have the opportunity go further than any Stars team has before in the cup and it is exciting.

“It would be a big accomplishment for them but they still have to go out their and get the job done, but I am confident if we play to our structure and to our abilities then we should have a good chance of moving on.”

Face-off for tonight’s first leg is at 7:30pm.

 

All images: Derek Black.

Latest News
Trade-Mart Dundee Stars Team
38 Games
10 Wins
24 Losses
4 OT Losses
24 Points