By Kris Smith
The Stars lost both of their matches last week but have a big opportunity to claw their way back up the standings after sitting at the foot of the table for the last four weeks.
They welcome Manchester Storm to Tayside tonight for their final run-in with the Altrincham side and so far this season, they have beaten them just once but have yet to lose in regulation time on home ice against the Storm.
Matt Ginn’s men took a 3-2 win in Manchester last Saturday but had lost 3-1 in Dundee two weeks before and took a 5-4 victory in overtime on their first trip to the Dundee Ice Arena.
Carter Folk gave the Stars an early lead in the Storm Shelter last week as he notched his seventh goal of the season, before Anthony DeLuca pulled the home team level.
Ben Sokay then restored Dundee’s lead, only for DeLuca to bag a second equaliser and his teammate, Tyson Fawcett then swiftly fired Manchester into their first lead of the night and they would go onto to hold that narrow advantage.
After a 4-1 defeat against Cardiff Devils on Sunday, the Stars have remained at the bottom of the league table on 24 points and sit five points outside a playoff spot.
However, both Glasgow Clan, who sit ninth and Fife Flyers in eighth, are on 29 points but have played six more and three more games than Dundee respectively, meaning the Stars can string together some wins they will instantly be thrown straight back in mix.
The Stars are likely to only be one player down this weekend as Swedish forward, Romans Semjonovs still remains out of action with a lower-body injury.
Sharing his thoughts on what will be a crucial and potentially decisive weekend for his side, Stars Head Coach, Jeff Mason said: “Last time we played Manchester at home we beat them.
“They are a team that competes really hard and they are playing good hockey right now, so it is important for us to come out and match their intensity.
“We have to try and take the game to them, try to put pucks on net and a play a physical brand of hockey, not give them time and space, and stay out of the penalty box.
“There has not been many games that we are not in, but at the same time, we are not winning nearly enough games.
“It is one thing to be in games and another to win them and for me that comes down to the details of the game and our details need to be better in some areas, and we need more from some guys.
“Our puck management at certain times needs to be better and there have been a number of games that we have been in and we either have not generated enough offensive chances or the games that we have, we have not capitalised on them.
“We need to find a way to take more of our chances because most games we get enough to have leads or win games and we are not finding the back of the net near enough.
“For me, that just means simplifying our game, getting more pucks and more traffic to the net, more second and third looks around the goal, making the goalie work harder to see pucks and then baring down when you get your chances.”
Swedish winger, Johan Eriksson has managed to contribute 20 points in 25 matches, with five of those coming against the Storm in three appearances and he discussed what it will take to beat Manchester tonight.
He said: “We just need to play our game, believe in ourselves and play hard.
“We need to minimise their chances because they have some good players and their first line is very skilled, so we need to keep it simple and work hard.
“It is going to be a big game and we need those points to get us going here down the final stretch of games, so we will do everything we can this week to be prepared for the weekend.
“We all want that win really bad, we need it and we will do everything we can to win the game for both ourselves and the fans.”
Tonight’s home match will face-off at 7pm.
All images: Derek Black.