The Kitmart Dundee Stars have a chance to complete a four-point weekend but face the tough task of halting the league leaders, Sheffield Steelers who are on a nine-game winning streak.

By Kris Smith

The Steelers return to the Dundee Ice Arena and the Elite League pace-setters are looking to extend their unbeaten run against the Stars this season to three games.

Despite, the Steelers sensational form, Aaron Fox’s men have only narrowly scraped past Dundee in their two past meetings.

A 2-1 result for the Yorkshire men on their last visit north allowed them to breathe a sigh of relief, after the Stars kept the game close for the full 60 minutes.

Back in October, Robert Dowd and Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen gave the Steelers the goals they needed, while Connor Sills pegged one back for Dundee.

Then in December, Evan Mosey, Martin Latal and Tanner Eberle all found the net to help Sheffield edge past the Stars in a 3-1 win, where Combs would net for the Taysiders.

Although, both sides come into tonight’s game off the back off key victories last night.

Yesterday, Sheffield were 4-2 winners at home against their rivals, Nottingham Panthers with Matias Sointu, Evan Mosey, Marc-Olivier Vallerand and Robert Dowd all finding the net and Rok Stojanovic back-stopping them.

Meanwhile on Saturday night in Dundee, Adam Morrison and the Stars defence recorded their second shutout of the season, as the Scots blanked the Coventry Blaze 3-0.

After a scoreless first half to the game, where Dundee’s penalty kill unit and Morrison were made to work hard, they were then rewarded with a late second period goal to open the scoring.

Inside the 38th minute, Swedish winger, Sebastian Bengtsson was on hand to turn in the rebound from Dillon Lawrence’s baseball-bat-shot.

Dundee then put their foot down in the third period and began to choke the Blaze out, as they bagged a powerplay goal on 50 minutes.

Alexandre Ranger would fire the puck into a pile of players, who were battling in front of CJ Motte’s goal and the Canadian’s effort snuck through all the bodies and into the net, to double the Stars advantage.

The momentum of the match then swung towards the Blaze as tensions flared on the ice after a few boiling points arised, but Dundee’s Markus Kankaanperä would be the only player punished by referees Robin Elliott and Pavel Halas.

With the West Midlands club on a four-minute powerplay, Coventry Head Coach, Danny Stewart watched his side struggle through the first half before calling a timeout of his own and gambling with just less than five minutes remaining.

The Coventry goaltender was benched, so that they could create a six-on-four situation, in the hope of getting a late goal to kickstart a comeback.

However, 20 seconds later the Stars wrapped up the game as Spencer Dorowicz and Ranger forced a turnover and the pair broke down the ice before Dorowicz fed a pass across to the wide-open Ranger, who buried his shot into the empty net.

Discussing tonight’s home game against Sheffield, Stars Head Coach, Omar Pacha said: “Sheffield are good hockey team, truth be told it is going to be a real challenge.

“They are top of the league for a reason, so for us, it is going to be important to keep working hard throughout the whole game and continue to bear down a bit more defensively.

“We must try to not get caught with guys behind us, as that has been a bit of a problem lately.

“So, if we can keep them in front of us and make them play a 200-foot game and a lot of defence, then I am confident we will be in a good position to take full points this weekend.”

Stars defenseman, Markus Kankaanperä was delighted with the defensive performance he and his teammates produced against the Blaze and believes they can take that into tonight’s clash with Sheffield.

He said: “We have to build on last night and take all the positives from that game into tonight, it will be a big game for us with two big points up for grabs.

“We have to think defence first like we did against Coventry and we know it will be a tough game because they are a good team, but we definitely have a chance to win.”

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

There are limited tickets remaining for tonight’s Scottish Government capped 200-capacity crowd but fans can still watch the game via the Dundee Stars TV live stream, which can be purchased via the club’s website and social media channels.

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Trade-Mart Dundee Stars Team
54 Games
22 Wins
25 Losses
7 OT Losses
51 Points