By Kris Smith
Stars have yet another big weekend in store as they face their biggest rivals, Fife Flyers this evening before travelling to Cardiff on Saturday night.
Fife have proved to be a tough side to beat after pulling off upsets against some of the top sides in the league but they have yet to win a game in Dundee this season. The last time they visited the DIA it was Dundee who claimed the points after a 7-5 win, after putting five goals past Flyers in the opening twenty minutes.
However, the Kirkcaldy side have shown their never die attitude and pulled off some remarkable comebacks in Cardiff and Nottingham. They have also beaten the reigning play-off champions, Sheffield twice.
Both sides have met four times this year with Fife claiming three wins. The first meeting with Todd Dutiaume’s men at the Scottish Elite Cup in September went the way of Flyers as they claimed a 6-2 win to advance to the final. They have also claimed two home victories over Dundee, winning 5-1 twice in Kirkcaldy.
Jimmy Jensen has the most goals against Fife for Dundee, after he bagged a hat-trick in 7-5 win. The injured Chris Lawrence and Johan Andersson each have a pair from the derbies against Fife but they could be sorely missed. Gabriel Lévesque has hit the 30-point mark after his assist in Sheffield on Tuesday, he now has 6 goals and 24 assists.
Liam Heelis, Peter LeBlanc, Carlo Finnuci and Chase Schaber have each scored three goals against Stars this season. Danick Gauthier leads the Kirkcaldy team in points with 11 goals and 15 assists.
Dundee have put together back-to-back league wins after defeating the Edinburgh Capitals 4-2 and the Manchester Storm 5-3. Although two tough games in against Sheffield in the Challenge Cup knocked Stars off their stride but Omar Pacha is keen to extend their good league form.
Fife are one of the league’s hottest teams as they have strung together five wins on the bounce. Huge wins over Sheffield, Milton Keynes and Nottingham have lifted the Flyers into seventh spot on the Elite League table. They have also topped the Gardiner Conference after back-to-back wins over the Capitals.
Dundee have lost some more bodies as Cam McGiffin and Taylor Dickin departed at the start of the week but Omar Pacha insists they can pull off another big conference result. He said: “We need to create a lot of offensive chances and we have been playing a lot better defensively, the last game didn’t reflect that because of the penalties situation and the game being a bit meaningless after the second period.
“If we use our speed, play strong, create chances and stay out of the box because they have a good powerplay so if we do all that we will be successful.
“Every team loses guys but we will run the same line up from the Manchester and Edinburgh game, we have the luxury of having Mastrodicasa back and we seen the impact he had against Edinburgh and Sheffield but we don’t have the luxury of having three consistent centres.
“This is the biggest game of the season so far and it gives us a chance to get back up in the standing and conference but we have had a year where we had a lot of injuries but now theses games are so important and regardless we have to produce and come out flying.”
Last year Justin Fox was playing on the Fife side of the River Tay but now he has crossed the bridge and will face his old club for the first time. Dundee’s number 9 scored a hat-trick in the last home game and continued his scoring streak in Sheffield.
He is looking forward to playing his former club, he said: “Anytime you get to play against a former club, especially one you spent extended time with, it is always fun and you want to play well.
“It good to show them that you can still pay at a high level and it’s a big conference game especially at a crucial point in the season they are in good form and we have been playing well in the conference so hopefully play well and get two points.
“Usually when Christmas hits the games get ramped up and games get tighter, the compete goes up to a whole new level as teams are fighting for positioning and trying to win trophies.
“At this point we want to get the second half off to a good start, the first half was up and down and there has been hard times, some of the losses take a toll but I think we are building and getting better and as long as we continue to do so I think we can be competitive.
Fox has four goals in the last two games and says that it is down to him going back to “a shoot first mentality”.
“I’ve gone back to a shoot first mentality and playing with two good passers like Gabriel Lévesque and Marc-Olivier Mimar, they find me when I am in the right spots and I am just bearing down and finishing the chances I get.”
Face-off is at 7:30pm and tickets are still available from the DIA box office and online.