By Kris Smith
The Stars have had closely-fought battles with Cardiff all season long and may finally cause another upset against the Welsh club after beating them 5-3 back in their first meeting of the campaign, however the Devils have been more defiant in recent games as they make a late charge for the Elite League title.
Last weekend, the Stars suffered double defeats as Manchester Storm were 5-3 winners on Tayside before they were then edged out of tight game in Nottingham, which saw the Panthers win 4-2.
Although, the Devils have also struggled as of late with Cardiff falling behind in their charge for the title as they have dropped back to third spot, but when these two teams met in the City of Discovery just two weeks ago, Brodie DuPont’s men were 4-1 winners.
Joshua Batch had the Devils in front before Joey Martin doubled the visitors lead, but Dundee defenseman-turned-forward, Ryan Verrier would then get the Stars on the board with a powerplay goal.
However, Brodie Reid made it 3-1 to Cardiff in the third period before Devils goalie, Ben Bowns was awarded the fourth goal after being the last Cardiff player to touch the puck before the Stars put it into their own net from the other end of the ice.
The Stars last two trips to Ice Arena Wales ended in 5-3 and 6-4 defeats with both games going down to the wire and Dundee causing the hosts a lot of trouble.
Speaking before the weekend, Stars Head Coach, Mason said: “Again, we know the importance of points this time of year and Cardiff is a building we have played pretty well in but unfortunately we have been unable to come away with any points.
“However, we know that we can go in there and have success, so it is a matter of starting well in that building, because you do not want to chase the game and you have to be committed to a full 60-minute effort.
“It will take a full team effort but we can take some confidence from the fact that we have played well in that arena.”
The American also explained that the margin between winning and losing for his side has been little details.
He said: “It is all about the little details, I thought we played a good game in Nottingham on Sunday.
“Even in some of the goals against, we are in some good spots but the difference between winning and losing is a matter of small details and making plays, whilst avoiding mistakes at inopportune times.
“So, those are things that have maybe hurt us as we have been in a number of close games and we need to find a way to execute with a little more precision in the moments that can swing the momentum of a game.”
Dundee defenseman, Craig Moore has had success on the road against the Devils in previous seasons with the Stars and whilst this will be his first trip to Cardiff with Dundee this year, he knows how close they have come.
He added: “Jeff has reinforced that all this week, that the guys have gone down there previously and done really well, keeping the games close.
“So, we just have to go in there with the right mentality, like we did last Sunday, where the result just did not go our way.
“I think we were unlucky to not get at least a point from it, but you build off that and it has been a pretty positive and upbeat week in training and like I said, Jeff has really reinforced the fact that guys have had good games down there.
“So, why not try to get on the flip side of that and get a win and two big points out of Cardiff on Saturday.”
With everyone at the club desperate for win, he continued: “This weekend is huge, every game matters and all these cliches are true, but we really need to be getting points.
“Yes, we have games in hand but at the end of the day those games in hand mean nothing if you do not get any points out of them.
“We are all aware of the situation and the guys are just as frustrated as the fans are and no one wants lose, everyone wants to win because we are all competitors and have been from such a young age, so no one wants to win more than we do.
“It is huge to get things going at this point, so if we can get a win on Saturday and then come home and hopefully have a big result against the Clan, then we can make a big push to try and secure our spot in the playoffs.”
Face-off is at 7pm tonight in Cardiff.
All images: James Assinder.