By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars are aiming to snap a three-game losing run with a home ice victory over their Scottish rivals, Glasgow Clan.
On Sunday Stars welcome the Clan to the DIA and a win would be vital to their playoff push. Glasgow sit in fourth place, nine points ahead of Dundee and they have soared up the standings of late.
Omar Pacha’s men have gotten the better of Glasgow just once this season and it won’t be any easier this time round. After winning the first tie of the season 2-1 in the Challenge Cup group stage, Dundee could not repeat the outcome on their first road trip to Braehead, they going down 5-4 after penalty shots.
The first league match between the two Scottish teams seen Clan take a 5-4 shootout win in the DIA before they returned a few months later and claimed a 4-1 win over Stars. Considerably one of Dundee’s worst performances of the season came when they returned to the Braehead Arena and were thumped 9-2 by Pete Russell’s side.
Last night seen Stars pick-up just a single point against Milton Keynes Lightning as they lost 4-3 after penalty shots. Dundee had taken the lead through former Lightning player, Jordan Cownie as he turned home a Fabrizio Ricci’s pass in the 18th minute.
However, it all turned upside down in the second as the Lightning put three goals past Pontus Sjögren. A quick start by the home side allowed them to draw level. Martin Mazanec took two attempts to find the net as his first shot was blocked by a Stars defender but he collected his own rebound before beating Sjögren from the right side of the ice.
Milton Keynes took the lead after Dundee defender, Shawn Boutin turned over the puck on the Milton Keynes blue line to Michael Fine and he quickly squared a pass to Tim Wallace, who scored into a gaping goal in the 33rd minute.
The home team’s third goal came after Radek Meidl fired home the loose rebound from a blocked shot, 32 seconds after the last goal.
Pacha finally got the best of his side in the third period as Corcoran cut into the Lightning’s lead with a shot that beat Patrick Killeen through his five-hole after 45 minutes of play. Cownie netted his brace to tie the game in the 52nd minute as he combined with the same two players to recreate their first goal.
Not even overtime could split the two teams but Milton Keynes flexed their offensive firepower in the shootout. Michael Fine, Matt Marquardt, Nelson Armstrong, Corcoran, Wallace and Lukas Lundvald all missed their chances before Robbie Baillargeon netted the first penalty shot with a quick shot between the legs of Sjögren.
Killeen denied Cownie before Andreas Valdix beat the Stars Swedish shot-stopper on the blocker side to win the extra point for Milton Keynes.
Meanwhile, the Clan emerged 6-4 winners at home against the Manchester Storm, despite being down 2-1 at the first break. A strong second period seen Glasgow go in front 4-3 before adding to their lead and sealing a 6-4 win.
Matt Beca, Michal Gutwald, Scott Tanski, Craig Peacock, Vaclav Stupka and Matt Haywood netted the goals for the west coast club.
Dundee may be without Petr Chaloupka again after he missed last night’s game against Milton Keynes with a face injury. He joined François Bouchard on the Stars injury list just as it looked to shorten as Matt Bissonnette made his return to action last night after two weeks out with an upper body injury. Meanwhile Travis Ehrhardt was the only player missing from Glasgow’s line-up last night.
Stars winger, Bissonnette remains confident ahead of what will be a tough visit from the Clan.
He said: “We will have to play for a full 60 minutes and we have all three lines playing at their best!
“We are a tough team to play against when we play our system and frustrate other teams.
“There is not much we need to improve on.
“We know what makes us successful, we need to win these important games and get ourselves back into the playoff picture!”
Face-off for Sunday’s game is 5pm and tickets are still available from the box office and online. A big crowd is expected following a high amount of pre-game sales.