The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars are looking to complete a weekend sweep of Coventry Blaze tonight as they welcome the West Midlands club to Tayside tonight in their second of back-to-back games.

By Kris Smith

Last night, the Stars were 5-3 winners in the Skydome Arena as they stormed out into a 4-0 lead and that put the Blaze on the backfoot for the rest of the game.

Philippe Sanche gave Dundee the lead on seven minutes as his mis-hit shot trickled past Coventry goalie, Miklos Rajna who had been fooled by the mis-hit strike.

The Stars still led by one goal at the end of the first period but hand a number of chances to extend their lead, although in the second period they got off to an explosive start, scoring three goals in just under three minutes.

Sanche bagged his second just 24 seconds after the restart as he finished off a chaotic play where the puck was bouncing around in front of the Coventry goal and then in the 23rd minute he completed his hat-trick by tucking in his own rebound.

Danny Stewart then called a timeout to settle his side down but that only allowed Dundee to plan another attack as from the face-off, Ben Sokay rushed forward and went clean through on goal before shooting past Rajna, ending the Hungarian’s night early.

Paavo Holsa was subbed in for Rajna in the Coventry net and that change shook the Blaze up as they finally got off the mark, just one minute later as Johnny Curran was left unmarked in front of goal and smacked Kim Tallberg’s pass into the back of the net.

The home side then pulled another back with one minute left to play in the second period as J.D. Dudek rushed through on Anton Svensson’s goal and buried his shot between the legs of the Swedish keeper.

The third period was an intense battle between the two teams as each searched for the all-important next goal that would turn the momentum into their favour and on 54 minutes, Toms Rutkis gave the Stars their three-goal cushion back.



However, for a second time, Curran responded for the Blaze within a minute as he tipped Nathanael Halbert’s shot into the net to make it 5-3 with five minutes to play.

The English club through everything at Jeff Mason’s men but they stood firm to snap their nine-game losing run.

Tonight, the Blaze look set to start with Holsa between the pipes and Rajna on the bench deputising, whilst keeping the same line-up of skaters as yesterday.

Meanwhile the Stars stick with Svensson in net and welcome back forwards, Jonathan McBean and Ben Brown as they return from two-way duties, but Kris Inglis and Romans Semjonovs remain out through injury.

Coventry have a split record in the DIA this season as they won 5-1 on their first visit but lost 4-3 after penalties when they returned, so a third consecutive win for Dundee tonight would split the season series between the two clubs at three wins each.

Speaking after last night’s win in Coventry, Stars Head Coach, Jeff Mason said: “That is a massive two points and we have played really well over the last few weeks and have been unfortunate to not come out on the winning end.

“I thought the guys battled really hard, we had a number of guys who had really good games tonight, also our goaltender was really good.

“Philippe Sanche with three goals and Toms Rutkis with a big goal towards the end and we had some big blocks from the guys late in the game.

“They all battled hard until the end, so I commend them for their effort and it is a result that we have desperately needed for the last few weeks.”

Face-off for tonight’s home game is at 5pm.


All images: Derek Black.

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