By Kris Smith
The Stars currently sit seventh in the Elite League and after yesterday’s 5-0 loss to Guildford Flames on Tayside, a win in Coventry would move them up to sixth and above Manchester Storm.
Last night, Dundee were playing on without forwards, Philippe Sanche and Jonathan McBean, but also defenseman, Colin Joe, yet they made the better start to the match and had a number of dangerous chances in the opening minutes.
The best of which saw Hugo Reinhardt deflected a shot into an awkward position for Guildford goaltender, Taz Burman but he was able to keep it out and also denied Ben Sokay’s follow up effort.
The Flames would eventually find their feet and claim to have scored a goal in the 10th minute, when the puck disappeared behind Stars netminder, Francis Marotte but following a review of the play, referees Andrew Miller and David Good confirmed the puck did not cross the goal line.
The rest of the first was pretty much even with the action going from end to end, but the go-ahead goal would be scored in the final minute of the first period, when Ian McNulty fed a pass forward for Sam Marklund, who lifted a backhanded effort past Marotte.
In the second period, it was still a pretty balanced match but that would change when the first powerplay of the night came against Dundee in the 27th minute.
Kris Inglis would be boxed for cross-checking and that allowed Guildford’s Jordan Klimek to double the visitors lead, as he picked out the top right corner.
The Flames would then add a third goal two minutes later, when Marklund was free at the back post to tap in his second of the night.
Dundee would again be down a man as a late elbowing call against Ian Parker left them shorthanded to start the third period and once again, the Surrey side took advantage of the powerplay, with Daniel Tedesco shooting home the rebound from Bradley Lalonde’s strike that rung off the crossbar.
The Flames then settled in to seal their victory but would add a fifth goal in the 54th minute, as Brett Ferguson shot home from point-blank range.
Meanwhile, the Blaze were involved in Challenge Cup action against Cardiff Devils in the Welsh capital and would be beaten 3-2 in overtime.
Danny Stewart’s men would open the scoring after just 13 seconds, as Mitch Cook found a way past Taran Kozun and Coventry would then double their lead eight minutes later through David Clements.
However, the Devils got their first goal of the night Joshua Waller with only one second remaining in the second period, before Marcus Crawford netted three minutes after the restart to make it a tie-game.
Waller would then net the game winner in the fourth minute of overtime, to claim the extra point for Cardiff.
Looking ahead to his first trip to the West Midlands as Stars Head Coach, Jeff Mason said: “They have certainly got off to a good start and I think defensively, their d-core is very good and their goalie has had success to start the year, so we need to make sure that we are working them in the offensive zone.
“That means getting traffic to the net and making the goalie work to see the puck, and again it is a long trip down there, so it is important that we get off to a fast start.
“Sometimes in some of these games on the road, after long travel, we have not started well and been unable to battle back, so we need to put a heavy focus on how we start the game in Coventry and go from there.”
Stars forward, Hugo Reinhardt then discussed what it will take to get result against the Blaze, adding: “They started off well and are a team that attack with a lot of speed, so we just have to control their speed from the get go and skate with them, then we need to defend well and that will create some opportunities for us to score goals.”
The Swedish forward also explained what he thought has brough the Stars more success on the road, as they took five points from five games in the recent away run.
Hugo said: “We changed our defensive approach a bit and that has worked well over the run of games for us and we worked harder, we blocked more shots and that good defence created better offence.
“They have been tight games and we were happy with the five points but we knew it could have been more and we really want to get two more points tonight in Coventry.”
Face-off for tonight’s match in Coventry is at 5:30pm.