By Kris Smith
The Dundee Stars face the Braehead clan for the first time this season as Omar Pacha’s men look to build off two huge back-to-back home wins in the last week.
The Stars shutout the Belfast Giants last Sunday with goals from Johan Andersson and Brian Hart. This victory proved to have a huge effect on the whole club as spirits were lifted and it help guide them to a 3-1 dismantling of league champions the Cardiff Devils on Wednesday evening. Riley Stadel, Andersson and Gabriel Lévesque were on the scoresheet for Dundee and Tyson Strachan collected the Devils only goal.
Meanwhile the Clan were on a three game losing streak after losing 5-2 to Fife, 4-3 in overtime to Belfast and 6-0 in Sheffield. However they snapped the streak after victories over Edinburgh (5-2) and Guildford (3-2OT).
The Stars got a brief glimpse of the Glasgow side back in September at this year’s inaugural Scottish Elite Cup weekend in Edinburgh. The Clan emerged as winners of the tournament after beating Edinburgh and Fife.
Craig Peacock and Adam Brace will not be icing for the Clan but they still outnumber the Stars roster as they are still without the four injured skaters. But three former Stars will be icing for Braehead; Bari McKenzie, Craig Cescon and Josh Grieveson.
Last year’s fixtures resulted in six wins for Dundee and four for Braehead. The Stars put 32 goals past the Glaswegian side and conceded 34 over the ten games last season, including Dundee’s two wins over the Clan in the playoff quarter-finals.
Braehead have had no issue with offence so far this season and their top scorers are; Brendan Brooks with 24 points (12 goals and 12 assists), Tyler Scofield has 17 points (8 goals plus 9 assists) and Ryan Potulny with 14 points (4 goals and 10 assists).
Dundee’s leading point scorers have also been some their key players in their impressive recent performances. Johan Andersson leads the points table with 18 points (4 goals plus 14 assists), Gabriel Lévesque has 17 points (3 goals and 14 assists) and Riley Stadel with 15 points (7 goals and 8 assists).
Travis Fullerton has an amazing last two games between the pipes for Dundee, he has been crucial in helping his side to pull off two big upsets against two top Elite League sides. He conceded just one goal from 67 shots and made ‘highlight reel’ saves when it really mattered.
Meanwhile his counter-part Ryan Nie has been in a positive form for the Clan, in the last 5 games he has saved 152 shots from a total of 171. He also has a goals against average of 3.75 over those games.
Following the two amazing performances that helped his side win four points, the Stars netminder said: “Obviously beating two top teams gives us confidence going forward, we need to take the positives and bring it into Saturdays big conference game.
“Braehead are a quality team and have great support from their fans at home and it will be a fun atmosphere.
“I have always liked playing there and it is a game we need to win to keep pace in the conference.”
Dundee general manager and head coach Omar Pacha added: “It is a big conference game and we need to get on track in that competition.
“We are doing well at home but we need to figure out a way to start taking points on the road on a more consistent basis.”
Saturday’s face-off is at 7pm in Braehead.