Dundee Stars are hoping to return to winning ways and move into third place in the Elite League table, if they can beat the Devils in Cardiff tonight.

By Kris Smith

The Stars currently sit sixth in the Elite League but are only four points out of third place and they also need to bounce back from a 6-1 loss to league leaders, Sheffield Steelers on Sunday.

Dundee were also 4-3 winners at home against Glasgow Clan on Saturday, as they beat their Scottish rivals in overtime thanks to braces from Spencer Naas and Ryan Valentini, then Naas would also net their lone goal in Sheffield.

The Tayside team’s record against the Devils this season has not been great as they are yet to win a point from three matches against Pete Russell’s side but they have run them close, losing out 5-2 and 4-2 at home, then 5-4 in Cardiff.

The last meeting at the Vindico Arena saw the Devils cancel out Dundee’s early lead after James Phelan put them in front on three minutes and they responded by storming 5-1 ahead.

Joshua Waller, Justin Crandall, Cole Sanford, Brandon Alderson and River Rymsha all scored for Cardiff before Drydn Dow, Kyle Pouncy and Naas all found the net inside the final five minutes to take it right down to the wire.

The Stars would strike the crossbar in the final seconds but failed to find the equaliser and came up just short before some unsavoury scenes after the buzzer.

Last weekend, Cardiff were not in league action as they hosted the IIHF Continental Cup Finals, where they finished in third place and their leading point scorer against Dundee is defenseman, Marcus Crawford with one goal and four assists, whereas Naas has three goals and two assists for the Stars.

 

 

Looking ahead to tonight’s road game in Cardiff, Stars Head Coach, Marc LeFebvre said: “We know it is going to be a battle in there, they are good at home and they run pretty deep with four forward lines and six defenders, with good goaltending too.

“So, they are in the top four for a reason but we are within striking distance of them, we are only two points back and there is everything to play for tonight.

“We have to be engaged from the start and that is not just for this game, but for every game and for whatever reason we kind of just float into games and sometimes get ourselves down 2-0 or 3-0.

“However, we never quit and are able to battle our way back for the most part but we will get caught out sometimes, so this week we have really been focusing on being engaged from the start of games and getting ready properly, so we can be ready from the drop of the puck and not be drifting into games.”

Then discussing the visit from Nottingham on Sunday, he added: “They have a deep too, so we have to weather it for the most part because they are a good team and they are trying to get back up in the standings too.

“So, we cannot take anyone lightly, we are in no position to do so and they are chasing those playoff spots just like we are, so we have to be focused and ready from the drop of the puck.”

 

 

Dundee forward, Carter Johnson also shared the excitement amongst the Stars players to play Cardiff again.

He said: “We had a bit of a tough result in Sheffield on Sunday, so we are really hungry to bounce back from that this week.

“We have a lot of jump and compete this week in practice, so we are really looking forward to getting down to Cardiff.”

He continued: “We built some momentum against them at the end of our last game and showed ourselves that we can easily hang with that team and beat them on a good night, so that has given us some confidence heading back in there this time.”

Face-off for tonight’s game in Cardiff is at 7pm.

 

All images: James Assinder.

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Trade-Mart Dundee Stars Team
41 Games
18 Wins
17 Losses
6 OT Losses
42 Points