By Kris Smith
The Stars and Fife Flyers have been hosting MSC Corona Brasov and Tilburg Trappers this weekend as both clubs welcomed the European sides to Scotland for a pair of exhibition games.
Last night, Dundee took on Corona Brasov and would come out as 7-3 winners in what was a close battle at times.
Jonathan McBean had a number of chances to open the scoring and would eventually find the net on his third opportunity in the 14th minute and less than a minute later, Anthony Rinaldi doubled the lead with a backhanded finish over the legs of Alex Dubeau.
After controlling the first period, the home side continued to rack up the goals as Craig Garrigan finished off a rebound to make it 3-0, just 36 seconds into the second session, before Owen Williams responded for Brasov in the 22nd minute with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway.
Garrigan would then restore Dundee’s three-goal cushion as he slotted home another rebound after Dubeau made a number of saves as the Stars swarmed the Brasov goal, in the 29th minute.
Then on 33 minutes, Matyas Kovacs cut the lead back to two as he deflected a shot past Kevin Carr and he would strike again just three minutes into the third period, as he finished off a cross-goal pass to make it a 4-3 game.
However, Marc LeFebvre’s men responded well and quickly accelerated back into the lead as Rinaldi then also netted his brace with another backhanded finish into the roof of Brasov’s goal in the 48th minute.
Defenseman, Kyle Pouncy then added Dundee’s sixth on 51 minutes as he lifted a shot over the shoulder of Dubeau and less than a minute later, Ryan Valentini pickpocketed a Wolves defender and added a seventh for the home side.
Tonight’s opponent, the Trappers from Tilburg are 14-time Dutch League Champions and have won the Dutch Playoff Championship on 15 occasions.
The Trappers joined the German third tier or Oberliga and would win three league titles in a row between 2017 and 2020 and they also won the first three Germany3 playoff titles they competed for, making it five playoff championships on the bounce for Tilburg, who are currently led by Dutch-Canadian, Doug Mason, who also coaches the Netherlands National Team.
Reacting to last night’s game and what he hopes to see from his side in their final preseason test, Stars Head Coach, Marc LeFebvre said: “I saw a lot of positive improvements from last week and obviously there is still a lot to work on.
“Overall, I am happy for the guys to get a win tonight and to get a win for the fans and being able to send them home happy with seven goals.
“It was a real confidence booster for a few of our guys who were a bit snake-bitten last weekend but I also have to remember too that this is only our second week together and everything we do bleeds into next week when the real hockey begins against Belfast.”
With the Stars having their lead clawed back into by Brasov, the Canadian coach was also pleased to see his players be able to clutch up and re-build their lead.
He said: “It is one of those things that is just human nature, you get up a bunch of goals and your foot comes off the gas.
“Then you start doing things that you would not normally do in your systems and your structure and we paid the price for it but I liked how the guys responded after the 4-3 goal.
“We went and got two right away and that is how we need to respond, whether it is a positive or a negative thing, we always need to responded positively.”
After scoring a brace and his first two goals in a Stars shirt, Canadian-Italian forward, Anthony Rinaldi added: “It is definitely a good feeling, obviously getting wins lifts up the energy in the locker room and we still have some kinks to work out here, but we are excited for the game against Tilburg.
“A lot of guys got their first goals this weekend, so it is like getting that monkey off your back early and I feel now like we are ready to continue that.
“It was a fun night for us and for the fans to see seven goals.”
With the focus now on the Trappers, Anthony continued: “We want to keep the ball rolling, I know personally I am really excited for this one as I am going up against my old roommate, D’Artagnan Joly.
“So, I am looking forward to seeing him again and going up against him on the ice, and I know the rest of the guys are excited to see a team from Holland and if we can keep this going.”
Face-off for tonight’s game against Tilburg is at 5pm.