By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars are looking to bounce back from their 4-1 defeat in Belfast last night and so are the Flyers after they lost out in overtime mid-week.
Yesterday evening, François Bouchard provided the only marker for Dundee with a powerplay goal in the second period. Stars had a full line-up for last night’s game but chose to rest goalie Pontus Sjögren and give Craig Holland some game time.
Fife have only won one of their first three games and it was a 5-4 win in their opening fixture against the Glasgow Clan. They were taken into overtime where Paul Crowder provided the winner, with goals from Evan Bloodoff (2), Evan Stoflet and Mike Cazzola in regulation. Belfast Giants then came to Kirkcaldy and skated to a 3-1 win last weekend with Scott Aarssen providing the only strike for the Flyers.
On Wednesday evening, Fife travelled down to Sheffield and were once again taken into overtime after goals from Ricards Birzins, Chase Schaber and Rick Pinkston left the teams tied after sixty minutes. Sheffield Stole the extra point after just 28 seconds of overtime.
This summer brought the return of Shane Owen to the Kirkcaldy club and names that impressed for Todd Dutiaume’s side last year like Carlo Finucci and Evan Bloodoff are back. It will be an interesting match-up in the first derby of the season between the two rivals and one side will be keen to seek revenge on Sunday after falling on the losing side the previous night.
Set to play in his first big derby match against Fife, Pontus Sjögren is ready and believes hard work will be the key to improving.
He said: “I think we started well and we are taking steps every week, looking at the games last weekend, I think we played well except for the first ten minutes against Belfast.
“Then we showed great character winning against Glasgow on Sunday.
“The key I think will be sticking to our game plan and staying consistent for sixty minutes, we also need to win the powerplay and penalty killing games.”
When asked if he thinks that Stars can achieve something this year, Pontus responded: “We have a good mix of guys with young and old and the group chemistry is great, we are like a big family!
“The most important thing is that we work hard and push forward all the time, I think it will be a great season.”
Craig Garrigan has been getting a lot of ice-time along with the other young Brits as Omar Pacha has been utlising his entire bench early in the season.
The 20-year old is gaining valuable experience and he said: “Coming into the team I knew I was going to get limited ice time so I am pleased with the opportunities Omar is giving me.
“Not a lot of young Brits get much ice time in this league so I am happy with how much I am getting played, it gives me the opportunity to develop and get the experience I need.”
In his homecoming season, Garrigan is happy to be home and playing with his local team.
He said: “I am enjoying my time in Dundee, it’s great to be back and playing on home ice.
“The stars have a great set up and amazing support and I am grateful to be a part of the team.”
There have been a lot of positives for Dundee and Garrigan expects Stars to keep improving, he added: “I feel that the team has had a good start to the season, there has been a lot of positives to take out both games last weekend.
“We are looking to build off that and take it into the weekend, playing Fife is always going to be tough, especially playing them back to back but the expectations are still high.”
Tonight’s face-off at the Fife Ice Arena is at 7:15pm.