The Kitmart Dundee Stars can continue their fine form of late when they visit the Elite League pacesetters, Belfast Giants on Sunday, before they host Coventry Blaze and can further cement their place in the playoffs.

By Kris Smith

The Stars have soared up the league table to fifth and are aiming to hold onto that spot with only 14 games to go in the regular season.

Dundee’s four game winning streak was halted by a last minute winner in Glasgow last Saturday, but they got their revenge back on Tayside on Sunday.

Following a 4-3 road defeat, the Stars bounced back to hammer five powerplay goals past the Clan for a 6-3 win.

They now take on the freshly crowned Challenge Cup champions, Belfast Giants, who secured the first piece of silverware of the season on Wednesday night in the Northern Irish capital.

After trailing 2-0 to Cardiff Devils, Adam Keefe’s men rallied to tie the match before winning it all in overtime.

This will be the 10th and final regular season meeting between Dundee and Belfast, with the Giants having won six of the ties so far.

Then tomorrow evening, Coventry return to Dundee with vengeance on their mind after the Stars blanked them 3-0 on their previous visit back in January.

Despite a 5-1 thrashing from Danny Stewart’s men in their first encounter, this will be a tight battle as both teams are eager to secure vital points to improve their odds of making the postseason.

The Stars could see injured goaltender, Adam Morrison and forwards, Philippe Sanche and Timi Lahtinen return to action this weekend, as their injuries are now all considered ‘day-to-day’.

However, it is unlikely that the captain, Drydn Dow will play any part in the two games.

Looking ahead to the weekend matches, Stars Head Coach, Pacha said: “It is going to be a tough game in Belfast.

“We have won five of our last six and Belfast are coming in after winning the Challenge Cup on home ice, so it is certainly going to be a challenge for ourselves.

“The truth is that Belfast are top of the league for a reason and I think we should anticipate a really exciting game.

“They are competing for a league title, we are competing for a playoff spot and whilst we have had some success against them this season, it is going to be a huge challenge.”

Speaking about his side’s previous victories against the top three teams who are battling for the title, he continued: “Just recently we beat Sheffield home and away, then also Cardiff, but those aren’t different teams.

“With Belfast, it is always a tough place to go and that team has a lot of firepower in their line-up, just like us and I think they are a well-balanced team and are top of the league for a reason.

“It will be tough and hopefully they exuberated a lot of energy on Wednesday, winning the Challenge Cup.

“So, we need to come well prepared and hope they have a bit of fatigue and we can use that to our advantage, but they have a deep squad so I am sure they will be ready to go.”

Then with his side facing Coventry on Sunday, Pacha added: “Last time we played them, Mo (Morrison) had a great night and we got the shutout.

“I did not think we had a great first period but we eased ourselves into the game and got the job done.

“They have a very balanced line-up as well, very strong defensemen, great goaltending and some good offence.

“So for us, it is about coming back from Belfast and using the last few home games to our advantage, we have won our last three at home now and we have to build on that for the last five home games to protect our home ice down the stretch.

“That is the most important thing down this final stretch, our home ice is so valuable and we have to make sure we use that to our advantage.”

Face-off times for this weekend’s matches are at 7pm in Belfast on Saturday and 5pm in Dundee on Sunday.

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Trade-Mart Dundee Stars Team
20 Games
6 Wins
12 Losses
2 OT Losses
14 Points