By Kris Smith
Stars have been training hard to build on last Sunday’s strong performance as they get ready to take on Milton Keynes Lightning this Saturday.
Dundee suffered a huge loss when Johan Andersson was ruled out with a long-term injury after it was revealed this week he will require surgery.
However this big blow was softened with the good news that Anthony Mastrodicasa is close to making his return to the line-up, with Chris Lawrence not far behind him. Also Justin Fox and Jordan Cownie have been cleared to return to action this weekend as Stars look to secure two more points against Pete Russell’s men.
The last meeting seen Dundee claim a 5-1 win in Tayside after Joey De Concilys and Tyler Brickler doubles plus a goal from Jimmy Jensen guided Stars to victory. Despite the Lightning’s leading point scorer, Kevin King, equalising less than a minute after De Concilys opened the scoring.
Travis Fullerton made 41 saves against the Lightning and was heavily praised for his efforts in helping to secure the two points. Przemyslaw Odrobny only stopped 20 of Dundee’s shots, he is no longer with club after Miika Wiikman returned to full fitness.
It was feisty encounter full of charging, roughing and misconduct penalties, most notably Milton Keynes’ Francis Verreault-Paul’s match penalty for fighting after sucker-punching De Concilys twice in an altercation in the game’s final minutes.
Experienced GB forward, Ashley Tait, was assessed a game misconduct for abuse of an official but has since left the club after his short-term contract was not renewed. Then it was announced this week that the injury and suspension stricken Belfast Giants had acquired his services on a two-game contract.
Riley Stadel, Malcolm Gould and De Concilys are all tied as Dundee’s top scorers in all EIHL competitions with 8 goals each. Johan Andersson and Gabriel Lévesque are tied as the top point scorers for Dundee as they have 22 points each on the season.
Dundee have now lost six games on the bounce despite their valiant efforts whilst plagued with injuries and the 9th placed Lightning haven’t fared much better as they have won only one of their last five games. Three straight defeats to Sheffield Steelers, Belfast Giants and Guildford Flames overshadowed their huge 7-2 thumping of the current play-off champions Sheffield at MK Arena after a 1-0 loss to Braehead clan.
The Buckinghamshire team have lost just three times at home this season and with a full roster, they are hoping to restore their good form. Kevin King leads his side in the Elite League points table with 15 goals and 17 assists, Guillaume Doucet also has a total of 32 points this season with 18 goals and 14 assists.
Matt Nickerson has the most penalty minutes for Milton Keynes this year with a total of 130 racked up over 28 games. These add to his now career total of 2578 penalty minutes, with 749 of them accumulated in the EIHL.
Dundee Stars head coach, Omar Pacha, said: “It’s a big game after losing six in a row but we have worked on things and practiced a lot this week, having Jordan and Justin back is a big boost to our line-up and hopefully there is no more injuries this weekend.
“We start with a long road trip to Milton Keynes before a tough game at home against Manchester and it is never easy but it builds character, the guys are excited and the practices have been good this week so it will be an exciting weekend.”
Saturday’s face-off is at 7:00pm at the MK Arena with tickets and a live webcast available.