By Kris Smith
Stars second game of this weekend takes place in the Welsh capital as they have their final meeting of the regular season with Cardiff Devils.
Both sides have met three times this season with Andrew Lord’s Devils claiming two wins. The first came when the Welsh side shutout a very short benched Stars 4-0 on the road. Dundee exacted their revenge and claimed a 3-1 victory at the DIA in November, but Cardiff got back to winning ways after slipping past Omar Pacha’s men at Ice Arena Wales. They narrowly beat the Tayside team 3-2 despite a strong third period from Dundee.
Cardiff have won their last seven games and are undefeated in December, they have defeated Edinburgh, Manchester, Dundee, Guildford, Nottingham, Sheffield and Braehead. The Welsh side have scored 28 goals throughout their seven-game winning streak and conceded 16.
Joey Martin leads the Devils in point scoring, he has 21 goals and 28 assists from 37 games this season but is yet to find the net against Dundee. Andrew Hotham is the top scoring defenceman for Cardiff and he has been hot on the blueline. From 38 games he has netted 10 times and assisted 26 teammates in the Elite League, Challenge Cup and Champions Hockey League.
Mathew Myers, Patrick Asselin, Layne Ulmer, Joey Haddad, Hotham, Tyson Strachan and ex-Star Justin Faryna have been responsible for the Devils eight goals against Stars this year. Meanwhile it was Riley Stadel, Johan Andersson, Gabriel Lévesque, Brian Hart and Joey De Concilys who scored the goals for Dundee.
Johan Andersson and Chris Lawrence are the only two players missing from Dundee’s line-up, but Cardiff are minus forward Josh Batch, defencemen Mark Louis and Craig Moore. Moore, the other ex-Dundee player who moved south in the summer was ruled out indefinitely in November with a lower-body injury.
Malcolm Gould believes that any point Dundee can win will be “crucial” during the festive period.
He said: “The last home game against Cardiff definitely gave us some confidence knowing we can beat them, so we just need to stick to the game plan and use that confidence we have in ourselves as a team.
“At this point of the season every point is crucial, it’s the time of year where we need to be playing our best hockey and start getting ourselves in a playoff mindset.”
Dundee general manager and head coach, Omar Pacha said: “It is a big game against Cardiff, we need to repeat another solid defensive performance and keep being opportunistic with our chances.
“We have been boosted by the return of Mastrodicasa and it has helped out the other guys in the team, it showed in the Edinburgh and Sheffield games and we have been better five-on-five and not conceded as much.
“We want to continue our push up the standings so if we can get another two points from Cardiff it puts us in a better spot going into the second half of the year.”