By Kris Smith
The Stars sit ninth in the league table and visit the Flames, who are six points clear at the summit and have lost just once in their last six matches.
Last week saw Guildford take a 5-0 win in Dundee as the Surrey-side started slowly before shutting out Dundee, with their first goal opening the scoring in the final second of the first period.
Sam Marklund (2), Jordan Klimek, Daniel Tedesco and Brett Ferguson would all find the net for Paul Dixon’s side, while Taz Burman backstopped them to a 34-save shutout and that means the Surrey-side have won both meetings this season, after previously winning 6-3 down south.
Then last night, the Stars had another difficult evening at home as they went down 5-1 to Coventry Blaze and found themselves behind after just 19 seconds, when Nathanael Halbert beat Dundee goalie, Francis Marotte with a fast and accurate finish off the underside of the bar.
The Blaze then continued to blitz the Stars defence and soon added a second goal on four minutes, as David Clements effort found its way through traffic before hitting the back of the net and four minutes later, Marly Quince would bury a cross-goal pass to capitalise on a five-on-three powerplay for the visitors, making it 3-0.
Danny Stewart’s side would not let up and in the 14th minute, they extended their lead to 4-0 as Peyton Frantti found a way past Marotte from the slot and that prompted Jeff Mason into a goalie change, as Brython Preece entered the game.
Dundee would have a few chances of their own but could not cut into the 4-0 lead before the end of the first and in the second period, they again fell victim to an early goal as Johnny Curran got clean through and fired past Preece, just 38 seconds after the restart.
However, that would be the Blaze’s final goal of the night and Dundee would finally prevent the shutout as Philippe Sanche got them on the board with a quick goal, 24 seconds into the third period.
Tonight will be the Stars first game with a full line-up available for selection as Erik Näslund returns after serving his three-game suspension, with only two-way forward, Jonathan McBean being unable to play, as he ices with Solway Sharks.
Discussing the road game in Guildford, Stars Head Coach, Jeff Mason said: “Going into Guildford again, our start sunk us the last time but I thought we played quite well in the second and third period.
“They are another team that has a lot of speed but if we can manage the puck well and have control of it then it limits their opportunities to get forward, so making smart decisions, playing above their defence, recognising their speed and trying to catch them coming forward will be key.
“They are a quality side with a lot of speed and skill, so we have to be aware of that but we also have to focus on our game and what we need to do to make ourselves successful.”
Face-off for tonight’s road game in Guildford is at 6pm.
All images: John Uwins.