By Kris Smith
Stars take on the Clan in their final group match of the league Challenge Cup.
Glasgow Clan host the Kitmart Dundee Stars on Tuesday evening after meeting just two days before as the final match of Group B in the Challenge Cup takes place. It was Glasgow who claimed the win after scoring three out of three penalty shots on Sunday. Stars led 2-1 after falling behind in the second period but a quick start by Pete Russell’s side allowed them to tie the game up early in the third stanza.
Johan Andersson and Fabrizio Ricci both netted in quick succession to put the Stars 2-1 in front but Brendan Connolly’s brace helped Glasgow earn a point, he also scored his penalty shot. Although, it was Scott Pitt’s penalty shot in the third round that decided the game. Outstanding performances from both goalies did not go unnoticed by either of the coaches, Joel Rumpel and Dundee’s Pontus Sjögren were praised for some magnificent stops.
In their only other previous meeting this season, Omar Pacha’s men stole a late 2-1 victory from underneath their Scottish rivals.
Glasgow captain, Zack Fitzgerald and Stars winger Matt Bissonnette did not feature over the weekend for their sides and are likely to miss Tuesday’s game as well.
Stars have won all their games against Scottish opponents so far but lost twice to Belfast Giants. The Northern Irish side will finish top of group B and advance as a top three seed.
Glasgow need to win to have a chance of qualifying as the top two teams from all three groups will qualify but only two of the three third placed teams will advance to the knockout stage. Both teams that finish in fourth place in Group B and Group C are automatically eliminated. A win would draw Clan level on points with Fife Flyers, where they could progress on secondary criteria.
Talking after Sunday’s shootout loss, Stars head coach Omar Pacha said: “The guys effort was there, the third line did a great job Johan (Andersson), Fab(rizio Ricci) and (Jordan) Cownie all had a great game.
“That is the thing though, sometimes we get one line scoring and the other two are not, it is almost like we have to play a perfect game to win hockey games.
“However, we got chances tonight but we could not score and I thought the only chances they got was because of our turnovers.
“If we play like this, we are always going to give ourselves a chance to win and now we have to find ways to win in overtime and shootouts.”
Pacha also praised his shot stopper, Pontus Sjögren after another impressive performance by the Swedish veteran.
He said: “He gives us a chance to win every game and I hope guys realise that we have one of the best, if not the best goalie.
“We have to push harder to score goals, scoring an average of two goals a game, you are not going to win many hockey games.
“So fair play to the defence and the goalies, I thought the forwards generated good chances but it just did not seem to want to go in.”
Stars captain Johan Andersson bagged his first goal of the season, reflecting on the match, he said: “It is always nice to score goals but when you lose you do not think so much about it, but it would have been more fun if we had won.”
Looking ahead to the Cup clash in Glasgow, Johan added: “We are a fast team and we need to use our speed especially against Glasgow, they are a big team so it will be key.
“I think we have a very good group of guys this year and I am positive we will turn this around and start winning games soon.”
Face-off is at 7:30pm in the Intu Braehead Arena.