The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars can close the gap to the current Elite League leaders to just one-point this weekend if they can claim back-to-back victories over Guildford Flames, starting tonight on home ice.

By Kris Smith

The Stars come into the weekend’s fixtures off a pair of victories over their Scottish rivals last week and have won four of their last five games, leaving them five points off the top spot.

Sheffield Steelers and Cardiff Devils currently lead the 10-team league with 14 points but the Stars are only five points back in sixth place with nine points from nine games, which is the same number of points Guildford have after 10 matches.

Marc LeFebvre’s side defeated Fife Flyers 6-4 in Kirkcaldy last Friday and then beat Glasgow Clan 6-2 on home ice to give them their first four-point weekend of the season.

Although, the Flames have also hit form however and cleared themselves off the foot of the table and two points clear of 10th after winning four games in a row, but they have three fixtures in three days to fight through.

Paul Dixon’s men visited Glasgow last night and lost 3-2 in overtime but reached the extra period thanks to two late goals from Steven McParland and Brett Ferguson, coming just 25 seconds apart in the 56th minute.

Leading the Stars offence in recent weeks has been American forward, Spencer Naas who bagged four goals last weekend and has 11 points in his last six outings, whilst linemates, Ryan Valentini and Brendan Harms both have recorded eight points in the same time.

Spearheading the Guildford attack has been veteran defender, Ben O’Connor with nine points and forward, Peter Crinella has bagged the most goals with five.

Dundee’s goaltender, Kevin Carr has been crucial to the Stars success as he provides a stable platform at the back for the team to build off and for the Flames, Eamon McAdam has been bearing most of the goaltending duties but with three games in three nights, Taz Burman is likely to be splitting the workload, this weekend.

The Stars will have to ice without defensemen, Kris Inglis this weekend as he recovers from an upper-body injury but fellow blueliner, Sean Allen may return to the ice after missing the last two games.



Discussing the opportunity his side have to continue their winning streak tonight, Stars Head Coach, LeFebvre said: “We know what to expect from them, they are a good team and play with a lot of pace, have a lot of good players.

“They finished second in the league last year but have had a bit of slow start to the year like we did and now they are full of confidence and they are going to be ready to play and we have to match that.

“The big thing is making sure we do not get too high with wins or too low after losses, we have to keep it even keel.

“We need to concentrate on ourselves and what we are doing, and making sure we do not get out of our structure or off the gameplan, that is the first focus more than anything.

“If we focus on taking care of our business then we will not have to focus too much on what other teams are doing, so sticking to our gameplan, what we want to do and our structure and we will be fine.

“We cannot just sit back, we have to play our style of hockey and we have to go after them to get some crucial points this weekend.”

Stars forward, Tommy Parrottino then added: “They have strung together a couple of wins now and I think they will be a lot better than their record shows, so we are not taking them lightly and this week of practice has been good and we are going to come in prepared.

“If we play our game and stick within our structure then we will have no problem slowing down their speed, stopping their play and it comes down to playing our best and playing through our structure.

“Winning is everything and when we are winning, you have to hate losing more than you love winning but once we win won, it is not good enough so we have to keep going and it does not just stop after you get one win.”

Face-off for tonight’s home game is at 7pm and tomorrow’s game in Guildford will begin at 6pm.


All images: Derek Black.

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