By Kris Smith
Stars face Fife Flyers again this evening as they look for redemption after a 7-0 thrashing in Kirkcaldy last night.
Emerson Hrynyk returned to the line-up yesterday as Stars’ injury list dropped to just two players but the additional player on the blueline was not enough to secure a second straight win in Fife.
Both teams have a lot to play for as Dundee continue to battle for a playoff spot and Fife are just a single point away from winning their first conference title. Stars now have two big rivals to compete with in their hunt for the eighth and final playoff spot, as Coventry Blaze defeated Braehead Clan to leap-frog Dundee into ninth place.
Blaze are just four points behind eighth place Clan but have played two more games than Dundee. Therefore, with five points between Stars and Braehead a win tonight will put the pressure on the Glasgow side as Dundee still have three games in hand against John Tripp’s team.
Braehead travel to Nottingham tonight and Coventry are on the road to Sheffield. A win for Dundee and the right results down south can be huge for Stars as their playoff push continues.
Flyers latest signing Dan Correale picked up a single assist in his first Elite League game. However, it was a Chase Schaber hat-trick plus a brace from Danick Gauthier with Carlo Finucci and Liam Heelis netting a goal each to secure the 7-0 win.
Stars forward, Jordan Cownie insists he and his teammates can turn their form around if “everyone shows up”, he said: “We need to keep playing well as a team and make sure everyone is buying into the systems and doing the right things.
“We will be fine on any one night and against anyone when everyone shows up.”
Talking about why Fife have struggled in their past visits to the DIA this season, he added: “It is probably the style of hockey we play, they have a lot of skilled guys in their offence, so they are trying to skate the puck into the zone and make nice plays from there.
“We are a more defensive trap style team, forcing them to dump the puck and not be able to skate into our zone, which is probably why they struggle against us a little bit.
After Hrynyk returned to action this weekend, Cownie discussed what it has been like to play short-benched all season long and how motivated the team are to make the playoffs, he said: “We have been short since day one this year and whenever we can get three lines going, that is pretty much us at full-strength and that is what we are running with right know.
“Every guy is hugely motivated and that’s we all play for every year, to get into the playoffs.
“It is the main championship at the end of the season and it makes you have a better summer, last year in Milton Keynes, I was a part of the team that won the playoffs and it was a great experience.
“So I definitely want to experience it in the Elite League and hopefully we can do that and get to the final four again.”
Tonight’s game faces-off at 5pm and it will be refereed by Alan Craig and Neil Wilson, they will be assisted by linesmen Allan Ward & Nicky Gilroy.