By Kris Smith
Forwards, Craig Garrigan, Mac Howlett and Chris Gerrie have all spent some time in the Elite League and know every team inside and out, but also what it takes to reach the Playoff Finals Weekend.
The trio have all shared what they believe to be some positive signs for the season ahead after experiencing the team play and train together for a full week.
Dundonian winger, Garrigan began: “This is my fourth season with the Stars and every year you can see the league getting that bit better.
“With this year’s team, we may be a young team but we have a lot of speed and I think we will manage to put a lot of teams under pressure and hopefully we can get in their faces and cause them to make mistakes, so I think this season could be a good one.”
Reflecting on the weekend’s performance, Craig added: “You know what you are going to get when you play against Belfast, they are a great and always are.
“In terms of it being our first weekend together, we had some really good parts to our game but also some bit to improve on.
“The offensive side of things were pretty good but we need to brush up on some of our defensive aspects, overall though I thought we battled hard and it was a pretty good first weekend.”
Then, 22-year-old forward, Howett, who has had spells with both Glasgow Clan and Guildford Flames gave his take on the team’s first outing.
He said: “If we take the games from the weekend as an example, then I think the guys picked up the systems straight away.
“There is still work to do, but I think the systems suit the type of players we have and how they play with speed, shutting down plays quickly and the quick transition game.
“In terms of in the room, the guys term to be gelling quite well, so it has been a good start and we just want to continue building on that.”
After testing themselves against Belfast Giants this past weekend, Mac also saw some positives from playing a Champions Hockey League side, adding: “As Jeff said, they are going to be competing for trophies, so to go up against them straight away was tough, but also helpful as we know the level we have to play at now.”
The Englishman then shared a comparison to how this Stars team compared with Guildford last season, as the Surrey side also reached the playoff semi-finals.
He said: “There are definitely similarities in the way the teams play, Guildford also tends to be quite a fast team and had success last year.
“So, drilling in the systems the way we have been this week, Jeff is on us about doing everything properly and how everything is in the details, so hopefully we can grasp that and go one step further into the finals this year.”
Finally, Canadian attacker, Gerrie gave his view on the start the team has made and he said: “I think the biggest thing is that our team is gelling really well and obviously we have to get our feet under us, but when we arrived everyone was getting along really well.
“That is probably the most positive thing at this stage, so moving forward, once we get the legs going again it will be pretty exciting.”
Also a former Guildford player, Chris was full of praise for the decision to play Belfast in the opening weekend, as he knows the high rewards the Stars can reap from it.
He added: “It was a good first weekend for us, I thought Jeff made a smart move in getting us to play Belfast first, it was a good test and a quick turnaround.
“I feel it has been beneficial in helping to get our legs under us and it was noticeable in practice today.
“Personally, I felt way better at the start of this week, than last week, so I think it was good to test ourselves, good for our conditioning and an overall good first test that gets us playing at that top level quickly.”
This weekend sees the Stars renew our Scottish rivalries as a trip to Glasgow Clan on Saturday night is followed by a visit from Fife Flyers on Sunday evening, so make sure you do not miss any of the action.
Buy your home game tickets HERE and contact the Dundee Stars OSC on social media for information on the away trip to Glasgow.
Featured image: William Cherry/Presseye.