The Kitmart Dundee Stars require only one victory this weekend to secure their place in the Elite League Playoffs but they must beat Fife Flyers, as they face their biggest rivals in a back-to-back games.

By Kris Smith

The Stars can qualify for the playoffs this weekend if they beat the Flyers in any of their two games this weekend and the Kirkcaldy club, who prop up the 10-team table have now been eliminated from contention.

Dundee are currently sixth in the standings and can move as high as fourth by the Sunday night, whilst still holding a game in hand over Nottingham Panthers.

Omar Pacha’s men beat the current occupiers of fourth place 8-3 on Wednesday evening, as they extended their winning streak at home to six games.

Philippe Sanche (2), Gabriel Desjardins (2), Dillon Lawrence, Spencer Dorowicz, Charlie Combs and Sebastian Bengtsson were the six players to find the net for Dundee during the week and netminder, Brython Preece recorded his seventh win of the season after coming in to relieve the injured Adam Morrison, jut 32 days ago.

However, despite the Stars recent successes, they were beaten 4-3 last Sunday evening in Fife.

Kristian Blumenschein and Jacob Benson fired the Flyers into a 2-0 lead on 23 and 28 minutes, but Dundee quickly answered back through Sanche at the 32-minute mark.

Although a late goal from Craig Peacock restored the home team’s two-goal cushion and former Star, Matt Carter then made it 4-1 to Fife, inside 50 minutes.

Despite the deep hole Dundee found themselves in, they pushed back late on but ran out of time before they could complete the comeback, as Dorowicz and Sanche both bagged goals with less than 66 seconds to play.

The Tayside team still have a few players who are doubtful to feature this weekend because of injury, with goaltender, Morrison and forwards, Toms Rutkis and Craig Garrigan all still in recovery.

Looking ahead to a massive weekend for his side, Stars Head Coach, Pacha said: “It is a huge game, Fife are obviously our rivals and hopefully we can have a bit of retribution from last week.

“Every game is massive for us now in terms of league position and we want to clinch a playoff spot as soon as possible, so we know going there a win will secure our spot.”

With a fresh start after last week’s defeat in Kirkcaldy, the Stars boss added: “I think it will be good to see us going into that game with a lot of energy, we have not had lots of travel, which maybe hurt us last night but Fife also played really well.

“So, it will just be focusing on the key aspects of our game, like playing well defensively and we struggled a bit on the powerplay last time, so hopefully that will click this weekend.”

Dundee forward, Dillon Lawrence then added: “It is always a tough game across there, it is such a tough environment and with their crowd as well.

“You always have to treat every game just like any other but these are all hugely important down this final stretch, so we just have to stay focused and try to build off the positives from our last few games.”

Face-off times for this weekend’s matches are at 7:15pm in Kirkcaldy on Saturday and 5pm in Dundee on Sunday.

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