By Kris Smith
A huge weekend lies in wait for the Stars as they play three games in three nights and have the chance to take a huge step in their playoff push.
Dundee start the weekend with a trip to Kirkcaldy as both teams begin the first of three back-to-back games. Each encounter has been thrilling with some games being very one-sided but others going back forth and coming right down to the wire.
The next instalment of the ‘Auld Rivalry’ will no doubt be just as thrilling as both teams are battling for greater positioning in the league standings. Their final position in the table will determine who each team faces in the playoffs, Dundee are looking to continue their push towards the eighth and final playoff spot.
If Stars and Braehead Clan take maximum points this weekend, then Clan will hold a one-point lead, yet Stars will still have a game in hand. Meanwhile the fourth-placed Flyers will be aiming to move up the standings, as they currently sit tied with Belfast Giants on 62 points and 5 points behind Manchester Storm.
Riley Stadel makes a return to the Stars line-up after almost eight weeks on the side-lines. Also, despite taking a nasty hit in Nottingham on Tuesday Lukas Lundvald is fully fit for this weekend’s games but assistant captain Joey De Concilys remains out of action after suffering a lower body injury against Edinburgh last Sunday. Flyers defencemen Russ Moyer and Ian Young are expected to miss Friday’s game through injury.
Fife clinched their first Gardiner Conference title when they played Dundee last month but despite Fife having a 4-1 lead in the second period Stars pushed them all the way to a dramatic 7-6 overtime victory.
Stars have won five of the nine previous meetings between the two sides but Todd Dutiaume’s men have been victorious in the last two meetings. The last time Fife hosted the fixture they skated to a 7-0 home win and that put them in touching distance of the conference title.
Chase Schaber (3), Danick Gauthier (2), Liam Heelis and Carlo Finucci were all on the scoresheet. The next night it was Stars turn to host and they slipped behind in the first forty minutes and started the third period 4-2 down. Three powerplay goals, including one in the last-minute set-up a tense finish as Dundee took the lead for the first with only forty-six seconds left but with just sixteens seconds left Flyers found an equaliser.
Fife went onto steal the extra point deep into overtime with Shayne Stockton (2), Gauthier (2), Peter LeBlanc, Charlie Mosey and Dan Correale providing the goals for the visitors. Dundee’s goals came from Gabriel Lévesque, Marc-Olivier Mimar, Omar Pacha, Jimmy Jensen, Chris Lawrence and Lukas Lundvald.
Stars head coach, Omar Pacha has discussed his expectations for this weekend’s fixtures, he said: “In Fife it is going to be important to get the points and have a strong road game, we have had three road wins in a row now.
“We expect them to compete hard, for me the goal is to get three wins this weekend, but we really have to go one game at a time.”
Face-off is at 7:30pm in Kirkcaldy.