By Kris Smith
After 32 games, the Stars are sitting in eighth place in the Elite League table, which has then occupying the final playoff spot and they five points behind seventh, but two clear of their Tayside rivals, Fife Flyers.
Last weekend saw Dundee pad their gap as they picked up one point in a double header against Belfast Giants, but they were deserving of more as they put in two good performances against the reigning champions.
On Friday night in in Belfast, the Stars had opened up a 2-0 lead but their wasteful finishing allowed the Giants to come back and claim a 5-2 victory, but on Saturday Dundee controlled the game for nearly 50 minutes.
An early strike had them in front again but once more they failed to take their chances and Belfast soon found a way back into the match, albeit through an extreme amount of luck, but the Northern Irish side managed to force overtime, where they would claim the extra point with a 3-2 win.
Meanwhile, Danny Stewart’s Blaze were 4-1 victors over Glasgow Clan, who sit bottom of the league but only three points behind the Stars and the Blaze faced the Clan again last night in Glasgow.
Coventry currently sit fifth in the league with 38 points from 30 games and they have yet to lose to Dundee this season, after claiming 7-2 and 4-0 wins in the West Midlands, but also a 5-1 victory on their last trip to Tayside.
Johnny Currran (4) leads the English side in scoring against the Stars and Peyton Frantti has three goals, whilst Ben Sokay, Craig Garrigan and Philippe Sanche have provided Dundee’s goals.
Speaking before tonight’s game, Stars Head Coach, Jeff Mason said: “They are a team that got off to a really good start but they have struggled a bit lately, they have won four of their last 10.
“They have the top ranked powerplay in the league, so clearly, we have to stay out of the box and special teams will be a massive thing against them, it is where they generate a lot of their offence.
“Their team is really good in transition, they clog up the neutral zone really well and try to counter-attack you, so our transition game has be dialled in and we have to be willing to play pucks in behind them and go to work, and if you do that then you can have extended O-zone time against them.”
He continued: “The biggest thing for us is starting well, in every game we have played them this year, they have gotten out to a significant lead early on and it has not really been much of a game.
“So, our start is key and we want to continue on with the good things we did last weekend and continue to generate a few more goals off some of the scoring chances we have been creating.”
With the team’s performances improving but the results still not coming consistently, the American added: “For us, it is all about playing to our identity and transitioning quick, trying to play fast and go on the offensive.
“Whilst also defending much more aggressively and get up the ice, forcing turnovers and creating offence that way.
“It is about continuing to do those things and making teams uncomfortable, taking away their time and space, so regardless of who we are playing against that is the way we need to play.
“We have had success against every team in this league when we have done that, we just have not been able to sustain it, so now it is about building that consistency and sustaining it for 60 minutes.”
Forward, Craig Garrigan then discussed how the players have taken the positives from last week’s matches and how there is a positive atmosphere heading into the weekend.
He said: “There is a good feeling in the room leading up to this weekend’s games and the guys are up for it.
“If we play how we did on Saturday, then we will give ourselves a chance to pick up some wins, we just need to start putting in those good performances consistently now.
“We need to take the play to them right from the puck drop, especially with Coventry having a game against Glasgow the night before.
“Their power play is very good just now so staying out the box and being disciplined will help.
“If we give a good 60-minute performance we will give ourselves a great chance to pick up two points.”
Face-off time for tonight’s home game is at 7:30pm.