By Kris Smith
The Stars face Glasgow Clan on home ice tonight and are looking to build on last night’s 3-0 shutout win over Fife Flyers, in Kirkcaldy.
A quick start by Dundee saw them take the lead on the powerplay as Philippe Sanche smashed home a cross-ice pass from Drydn Dow, beating Shane Owen at his near post inside 12 minutes.
The first period ended with Dundee still holding a one-goal lead but they had a couple of chances to extend it as the Flyers continued to take penalties.
The second session was much the same as Dundee dominated the play, but there was a long-spell of pressure from Fife, when they gained over three minutes of powerplay time.
Dundee forwards, Carter Folk and Chris Gerrie were both boxed for four minutes after catching ex-Star-turned-Flyer, Dillon Lawrence in the face with their sticks.
However, the home team failed to make their long-lasting advantage count and the Stars responded by doubling their lead with another powerplay goal.
This time it was Elijiah Barriga who found the net, as the American cut across the Flyers goal and lifted the puck into the top corner of Owen’s goal, on 35 minutes, for his first pro-goal.
Jeff Mason’s side then quickly added a third goal at the start of the third period to push their opponents almost out of reach, as Gerrie beat the Fife keeper with a low shot, after 42 minutes.
The tensions began to boil over towards the end of the match and the Flyers also failed to convert a penalty shot in the 52nd minute, as Lawrence failed to beat Svensson, after creating a life-line for his team.
Inside the final minute, there was a flash-point as Lucas Sandstrom was eager to drop the gloves and after a lot of searching, he found a willing opponent in Dundee’s Hugo Reinhardt.
The pair had a quick tussle with only a few blows exchanged, before Reinhardt toppled his opponent and the referees stepped in.
The Stars ended their night with a perfect performance on their competitive debut, a 22-save shutout for Svensson and sit atop of the Group A in the Challenge Cup.
Now they must face Glasgow, who will be reeling from Friday night’s loss to Fife, as the Clan took a day off after blowing a 3-1 lead to the Flyers.
A Mathieu Roy double and a strike from Colton Waltz had Glasgow ahead after the second period, after Zach Phillips had initially put the visitors in front.
However, five goals in eight minutes and three on the powerplay meant that the Flyers stormed into a 6-3 lead.
On target for the Kirkcaldy club was Shawn Cameron (3), Janne Kivilahti and Christian Hausinger, before the Clan fought back late and cut the lead to one, as Gary Hayden hit a brace, but they could not complete the comeback.
Malcolm Cameron will be expecting a much better performance from his team tonight as they come to Dundee rested and prepared, and the Stars will also be missing Craig Garrigan, Ben Sokay and Ben Brown this evening.
Speaking after last night’s win over Fife, Stars Head Coach, Jeff Mason said: “The travelling support was great and it was really nice to hear them loud throughout the whole game.
“The boys could feel it and you can hear it on the bench, so it certainly was great to come out and get the result for them tonight.
“You always want to get off to a good start and I am really pleased with the result and the fact we were able to keep them off the board, because defensively, it is something we have really harped on over the last couple of weeks.
“We have been trying to clean up our d-zone and limit the other team’s chances, so we did a good job of that tonight.
“There are still areas that we can build on, but that is the process and it is a long season, so if we can keep improving and keep finding things that will keep us getting that little bit better, then you are setting yourself up to be in a good spot.”
Mason also discussed what he expects from tonight’s clash with the Clan, adding: “It is important for us to play the way we did against Glasgow in the preseason, as I thought we executed our systems really well and we had a total team effort.
“Glasgow are a very good side and they are much improved from last season, they will also have more players as I think they were missing a few last week, and they will also be looking for a bit of revenge.
“We came in and played a good road game against them, so I expect them to come here, play very hard and be a team that we will battle with all year.
“However, we are just focused on what we need to do, that I think will make us successful and also what the team thinks will make us success.
“So, if we can stick to that and create an identity for ourselves, so that when teams play us they know it is going to be a very difficult game and they will not have a lot of time and space, if we can do those things then I like our chances.”
Newly appointed Stars captain, Fabrizio Ricci also spoke about the importance of this season’s home opener and he said: “It is a massive game, you always want to start the season off well and especially at home.
“We had a good two weeks in camp and now we want to start things off on the right foot because the winning mentality starts right from the first week of the season.
“So, tonight is definitely an important game and obviously they are our rivals so we want to win even more.”
Explaining what the Stars must do to win, Ricci added: “They are going to come out hard, they have a tough and gritty team, with some skill as well but we just have to stay out of the penalty box and do not get dragged into their games.
“We just have to stick with our gameplan, stay committed to the system and stay disciplined and we will beat them with our speed.”
Face-off for tonight’s match is at 7pm and tickets can be bought HERE.
Banner image: Al Goold.