By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars are plotting an upset in the house of Steel as they aim to take their first victory in Yorkshire this season.
Dundee travel to Sheffield Steelers on Saturday night and are searching for their first win against Sheffield this season, that win would also be, head coach, Omar Pacha’s first road win over the Steelers.
Stars have failed to beat Tom Barrasso’s men in the four previous meetings this campaign. Dundee came close on two occasions but lost out 3-2 in a shootout and 3-2 after overtime. However, Sheffield comfortably won 4-0 at home before taking a 6-1 victory in Dundee.
Matt Marquardt, Brian Hart and François Bouchard have all scored against the Steelmen this season but the Steelers have had 12 different scorers against Stars this campaign.
Justin Buzzeo (2), Josh Pitt (2), Jonathan Phillips (2), Ben O’Connor (2), Jordan Owens, Mark Matheson, Chris Lawrence, Jonas Westerling, Robert Dowd, Ryan Martinelli, Tanner Eberle and Stefan Della Rovere have all found the net against Dundee.
The Taysiders are aiming to bounce back from last Saturday’s 9-2 thumping from Glasgow Clan, that seen them drop down to ninth place and out of the play-off spots. Matt Bissonnette and Hart netted Dundee’s only goals.
The Yorkshire club come into the game, also on a three-game losing streak and they were defeated twice by league leaders, Belfast Giants last weekend. A 5-4 loss followed by a 4-3 defeat left Steelers in seventh place, just two points ahead of Dundee.
Pacha’s side could still be without defenceman, Shawn Boutin who has been battling an injury and missed last weekend’s trip to Braehead.
Jordan Kelsall will be absent from Dundee’s roster this weekend as he is on international duty with the Great Britain Under 20’s squad at the Under 20’s World Junior Championships in Estonia. The 19-year old has already scored one goal in friendly against Spain on Thursday evening.
Also, away with GB are Sheffield’s Kieran Brown and Jordan Griffin. Last weekend in Belfast, Barrasso did not ice David Phillips, Jordan Owens, and Eric Neiley in any of the games. Defender, Jonas Fredriksson joined the Steelers on loan from Sutton Sting last month.
Stars captain, Johan Andersson says the team have had time to work on their game ahead of this weekend’s double header with the Steelers.
“We have had a good week of practice, where we had time to work on our game.
“We will approach it the same as any other team, we need to outwork them and stick to our game plan.”
As captain, the Swede tries to lead by example. “I just try to have a positive mindset and to do my best every day,” added Andersson.
Looking on to Sunday’s home game, the centreman said: “To play at home is always good when we have our fans with us and we will certainly do our best to win against Sheffield.”
Face-off is at 7pm on Saturday evening and Sunday’s home game against Sheffield will start at 5pm.