By Kris Smith
The Stars have already won a point this weekend after suffering a shootout loss in Guildford last night to the Flames and therefore, a victory tonight – and if Coventry Blaze lose to Sheffield Steelers – will see them move into fifth place.
Last night, Dundee battled back from 3-1 down to force overtime and then a shootout in Surrey, where only one penalty of nine would be scored but it was converted by Brett Ferguson of the Flames.
Turner Ripplinger had given the home side the lead just 34 seconds into the second period but Ryan Valentini’s leveller came on 26 minutes, before Ferguson’s powerplay goal restored Guildford’s advantage inside 31 minutes.
Bradley Lalonde then extended the Flames lead to 3-1 before the end of the middle session but in the third period, Tommy Parrottino would score his third goal in three games at the Spectrum Arena, in the 45th minute before just two minutes later, Valentini equalised once again.
No winner came in regulation or overtime but each team did lose two players each after some handbags at the end of overtime with Dundee’s Carter Johnson and Brent Beaudoin being ejected alongside, Matt Alvaro and Kyle Locke for the Flames.
Meanwhile, the Giants were in Glasgow last night and after falling 3-0 behind, they came back to beat the Clan 8-5.
Luke Lynch’s strike and a brace from Michael Pelech had the home side ahead before Henrik Eriksson got Belfast on the board and in the second period, David Goodwin, Ciaran Long and Matthew McLeod turned the game around to put Adam Keefe’s side 4-3 ahead.
Matt Barry would then level for Glasgow in the third period but Ara Nazarian and Goodwin made it 6-4 in the final 10 minutes, before Dyson Stevenson pulled one back to set up a tense finish, however Long and Daniel Tedesco both scored into empty nets to seal the win for the Northern Irish club.
The Stars are currently on 37 points from 35 games and remain in sixth-place, five points behind the Giants who have struggled to find consistent form in this campaign.
The Giants return to the DIA after losing a 2-0 lead on their last visit and went on to lose after a penalty shootout as Spencer Naas’ two late goals tied the game up and he then scored alongside, Ryan Valentini and Carter Johnson to win 3-0 in the shootout.
Dundee remains unbeaten at home against Adam Keefe’s men in the league campaign this season but have suffered three defeats to last season treble-winners in their five contests so far.
Speaking after last night’s shootout loss in Guildford, Stars Head Coach, Marc LeFebvre said: “I thought it was an entertaining game and a fair result as both teams getting points out of it.
“We have taken five out of six points in this building this season and they are a good hockey team, but so are we so it is a fair result for both sides.”
Discussing tonight’s visit from Belfast, he continued: “Belfast are always a tough game and they have been a good team for a number of years now, so Sunday is going to be no different and it will be a challenge.
“With 20 games to go, we need to keep winning points no matter what.
“We have a goal that we want to get to, obviously the top eight is the first one but there is a place in the standings that we have all agreed that we can get to and that starts from this weekend.”
Face-off for tonight’s home game against Belfast is at 5pm and you can buy your tickets HERE!
All images: Derek Black.