The Kitmart Dundee Stars are out to secure their place in the Challenge Cup last four for the first time in club history and do not plan to just hold onto their lead but extend it against Cardiff Devils tonight.

By Kris Smith

A major upset could be on the cards as Omar Pacha’s men return to South Wales, just three days after winning at the Viola Arena in Elite League action.

The Stars have now won six of their last seven games, scoring a total of 22 goals and their most recent match saw them make it two-wins in four days against the Devils.

On Sunday, Dundee arrived in the Welsh capital off the back of a 5-2 victory against Glasgow Clan, the night before and after five minutes were ahead through Sebastian Bengtsson.

However, once Cardiff drew level on the 15-minute mark, the game was then in a stalemate for the next 40 minutes before Bengtsson turned home the winner less than four minutes from full-time.

Those valuable two points also gave the Stars an extra edge over the Devils after they supressed the former Champions Hockey League participants in the first leg of this Quarter-Final tie.

One week ago at the Dundee Ice Arena, the Tayside team emerged with a 4-2 lead after goals from Philippe Sanche, Spencer Dorowicz, Timi Lahtinen and Bengtsson kept them in front all night.

The positive news for Dundee is that they will only be missing defenseman Kris Inglis from their side, as the 23-year-old recovers from his long-term leg injury, but fellow blueliner, Markus Kankaanperä will be back in the squad after a short absence.

However, Devils forward, Brandon McNally will be available again for the second leg after serving his two-game ban for fighting in the first leg.

Discussing his gameplan for the second leg, Stars Head Coach, Pacha shared what his message to his players will be.

He said: “The message is that we have shown we can do it on Sunday.

“But it is a different competition now and I said this before, we have to go in with the mindset of winning a hockey game.

“Yes we have a two-goal lead but you cannot really think about that at the start of the game, but maybe more as the game goes on towards the latter part.

“So, for us it will be tough, Cardiff’s ambitions are always to win trophies and be in finals, so for us to go there and cause that upset, it would be massive and the first time in Dundee Stars history that we have made the Semi-Finals.

“It would be great for the club and for everything we have been through since the start of the season – with the injuries and the down moments – to have a feel good story now in the middle of December.

“That would be great for the club and the players, so they are going in with the right mindset and the mindset of – why not us!”

The Stars most-in form player at the moment is Dorowicz, who has five points over the last five games and he gave an insight to how the players feel heading into the second tie.

He said: “We were obviously very happy to get the win and two goal advantage in our first leg of the Challenge Cup series with Cardiff, and we hoped to carry that momentum into league action, which we did over the weekend.

“We are pleased with our effort lately so now it is a matter of staying consistent and sticking to the process moving forward.

“We know we have a big challenge tonight and that we face a very talented team in Cardiff, so we will have to remain disciplined and continue to build off of our recent success.

“We are excited about being in a good position starting the game and hopefully can close out the series with another solid 60 minutes.”

Discussing his recent good form of two goals and three assists over the last five games, the Canadian center added: “I was very excited to get back in the line-up after my recent setback with my upper body injury.

“Since then, we have remained relatively healthy and with everyone playing their best hockey of the season right now it has been a lot of fun.

“All lines are producing so it has just been a matter of working hard with my line mates who are extremely talented players and very easy to play with!”

Face-off for tonight second leg is at 7:30pm. You can watch the webcast HERE!

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Trade-Mart Dundee Stars Team
20 Games
6 Wins
12 Losses
2 OT Losses
14 Points