By Kris Smith
The Dundee Stars welcome the Cardiff Devils to Dundee Ice Arena on Sunday night, face off 5.00pm. You can buy your tickets NOW!
But first of all the Stars travel to the Skydome Arena in Coventry tonight to take on the Blaze, face off 7.00pm.
So far, the Stars have only gotten the better of Coventry once in four previous meetings, but each game has had its share of goals and momentum swings with either side looking capable of taking the points.
Dundee come into the weekend off a 5-2 defeat down in Cardiff last weekend but with only two points separating the Stars from the top the eight, a good pair of results could see them climb back into a playoff berth.
Meanwhile, Danny Stewart’s Blaze last played a week ago and they prevailed 4-1 over Fife Flyers at home. The Tayside team will still be without injured defenseman, Kris Inglis, however his potential comeback may be just weeks away.
Stars Head Coach, Omar Pacha believes a big weekend lies in wait for his team and is confident his players can get the job done on both nights, as long as they come prepared.
He said: “Every weekend is huge now, we have an opportunity now to play Coventry who are ahead of us and it is a good opportunity to claw our way back even with them, we just have to be consistent.
“I couldn’t fault the effort against Cardiff last Sunday but our final execution just wasn’t there.
“Hopefully that comes back and we make sure to work them but we also have to watch Coventry’s top-end players because those are the guys that can hurt us and hopefully we come out with the points.”
With the race for the playoffs starting to hot up, the Canadian coach knows that points must be taken from teams around them in the league table and explained that they still have plenty of run-ins with those teams before the end of the season.
Pacha said: “They are obviously a bit ahead of us but if we get a win down there then we are only eight points behind them and we still have to play them another time, so there is an opportunity there.
“We have 19 games left and we just want to focus on one at a time, we put ourselves in a bit of a hole and then we got out of it, so it is important that we get back to winning ways with Manchester only two points ahead of us and Glasgow five.
“So, there is a lot to play for right now, luckily we play teams around us, a lot before the end of the season.
“Coventry, Manchester, Glasgow and Fife we play a total of 10 times, so it is important to get something out of those games.
“Whether we do or not, well that is our kind of playoff hockey right there.”
Dundee netminder, Alex Leclerc also believes that this is a crucial weekend for the club and that the team needs to show that they are capable of staying in the playoff race.
He said: “This weekend is very crucial for us, anyone can look at the standings and see how tight the race for those playoff spots is between the middle of the pack and the bottom, so getting points this weekend will be crucial towards the end of the season.
“It is very important to win points this weekend, especially on the road and as a team we want to take points from every building and make sure we play a strong game at home.”
After suffering a loss to the blaze on their last trip, the Canadian keeper believes playing within their system will prevent them from getting a similar result on Saturday.
Leclerc added: “We lost last time in Coventry, so we know we need to get a win down there this time.
“However, this time it will be important to stay true to our systems, make sure that nobody is doing too much and just sticking to their jobs and not getting overwhelmed when they make a mistake.
“Because if you try to repair a mistake with another mistake then it just creates a bigger opportunity for the other team, so we just need to stay within our systems, bring our best effort and we will get rewarded.”
Saturday’s away match in Coventry will face-off at 7pm.