By Kris Smith
Stars travel to Guildford on Wednesday as they look to get back to winning ways to round off their season as they play their rescheduled match with the Flames.
After the disappointing losses at the weekend Dundee’s playoff hopes ended. With just three games left and no possibility of moving up the Elite League table, Stars only have their pride to play for.
Meanwhile Flames are battling for positioning, they currently sit sixth in the standings, tied on points with the seven placed Panthers and two points behind Sheffield. The Surrey outfit have three games left and with sixth points available, their best possible finish is third place, but they would need a lot of results to go their way.
The first meeting between the two teams in over twelve years ended with Guildford taking a 3-2 overtime victory after a freak deflection off the glass. In their second visit to the DIA, Flames skated to an easy 5-0 win and then won their third straight game against Dundee 7-3 on home ice.
Stars are still looking for their first win in over ten years against Guildford and due to their first game in England being postponed after the first period, the score was tied at 2-2 after Dundee had taken an early 2-0 lead. Holes in the ice next to the players bench were unable to be repaired during the break and the match was abandoned.
Calle Ackered, Jesse Craige and Rhett Rachinski all scored in the 3-2 overtime win for Guildford, as Marc-Olivier Mimar and Omar Pacha netted for Dundee. During Flames 5-0 road victory, Ian Watters, Brett Ferguson, Liam Stewart, Jez Lundin and Geoff Walker all found the net.
Ben Davies (2), Kruise Reddick, Ackered, Watters, Rachinski and Ferguson were all on the scoresheet during Guildford’s 7-3 home win. Malcolm Gould, Jimmy Jensen and Gabriel Lévesque put up Stars’ three goals.
Stars netminder, Travis Fullerton saved 103 of 117 shots Guildford took at him, while Flames goalie Chris Carrozzi has denied 69 of the 74 shots he has faced from Dundee.
Paul Dixon has made a few changes to his roster since the last game between the Stars and Flames in early December. Rasmus Edstrom, Andrew McKinney, Adam Jones and David Lilliestrom Karlsson all departed and they were replaced by Mike Krieg, Richard Krogh and Geoff Walker.
Dundee could welcome the return of Joey De Concilys to the line-up after he sat out of Sunday’s home game against Fife. Which means Omar Pacha may take his place behind the bench again as the spare import. Guildford are without Liam Stewart for the rest of the season after the British-born forward sustained a concussion in mid-January.
With Stars competitive season pretty much over, there will be a good chance for some of the younger players to gain more experience and for the rest of the squad to show off their ability. Backup keeper Craig Holland may also get some ice time in the final few games.
After extending his stay in Tayside for another three years on Monday evening, Stars head coach, Omar Pacha says that the three remaining league games will give every player in the squad a chance to “sell themselves” and “show what they can do”.
He said: “I was satisfied with the push the guys the made through the second half of the year and to take it down to the final few games was exciting.
“Unfortunately, we fell a bit short of making the playoffs, so that is something we can build on for next year.
“We have turned our attention to Wednesday night in Guildford and we want to get back to winning ways and it will be a good chance for every guy to sell themselves and show what they can do.
“We really want to finish strong and give the fans the positive end to the season they deserve for sticking by us through it all.”
The game will faceoff at 8pm in the Spectrum Arena.