The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars welcome the Belfast Giants to the DIA this evening in the first match of a double header weekend against the Northern Irish club and the Taysiders are keen to cause an upset.

By Kris Smith

The Stars are out to end their poor run of form and to add to their current three league points, which would lift them out of ninth-place and back into the playoff spots.

In their two previous meetings this season, the Giants took both victories in the Challenge Cup and would go undefeated in group A winning all six games, with the Northern Irish side also yet to lose a match in league-play.

The first clash was over in Belfast and after a scoreless first period, Mark Cooper and Ara Nazarian would find the net to put the hosts 2-0 ahead before Johnny Walker struck back to make it a one-goal contest heading into the third period.

Ciaran Long and Quinn Preston then netted two more for the Giants to give them the 4-1 home ice victory but the following night in Dundee, Anthony Rinaldi and Brendan Harms both capitalised on chances in the opening six minutes to put the Stars in front.



However, Belfast would fight back to tie the score by the end of the second period as Nazarian and Ben Lake drew the last season’s treble winners even.

Adam Keefe’s men then rattled in four goals in the final 20 minutes with Jacob Friend, Preston (2) and Daniel Tedesco sealing the back-to-back victories.

Last weekend, the Stars again tasted defeat as they were beaten 4-1 in Glasgow by the Clan with Ryan Valentini netting the lone goal and they then slid to a 7-2 loss against Nottingham Panthers with Josh Brittain and Harms on target.

Meanwhile the Giants scored five goals in both of their fixtures as they defeated Coventry Blaze 5-3 on the road and were 5-2 victors at the SSE Arena over Glasgow.

Discussing this weekend’s games and what he has been working on with his team, Stars Head Coach, Marc LeFebvre said: “It will be a good challenge for us against the defending champions but at the end of the day, we have to focus on ourselves and get ourselves out of this rut that we are in and the only way out is through hard work.

“We are working through things and we can only get better from here and whether that is just changing some things within our habits, putting together a full 60-minutes, competing every day or making personnel changes sometimes, so it is just a matter of focusing on ourselves and building.

“We have 49 games left, five of them coming in the next eight days and that will allow us to see if we can get things back on track because there is no sugar coating it, we have had a very poor start.

“It is not the start that we wanted but we can only get better each and every day because there is a very good team in that locker room and it is up to me to get the best out of them.”

Dundonian defensemen, Kris Inglis also shared his thoughts before the pair of clashes with the Giants, adding: “We need a big response after the performance at home last week, obviously we feel we did not give a true account of ourselves and what this team can do.

“Belfast are on a good run of form but that is making the boys even hungrier to show the teams in this league that we can compete with anyone and we need to take advantage of that at home.

“We need to be a bit more cut throat, especially in front of goal and we know the way Belfast plays, they like to play a fast game.

“We have a had a good week of practice, working on things and adjusting our game for this weekend and hopefully we can get over the line this time.”

Brent Beaudoin is awaiting clearance and will play once all the paperwork is complete.

Face-off for tonight’s game in Dundee is at 7pm and you can get your tickets HERE!

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