By Kris Smith
Both teams were scheduled to face Nottingham Panthers this weekend but after some games were postponed, the Stars and Flyers were re-scheduled to meet tonight for their first regular season game and a result would be huge for either side as they are separated by just one point after eight league games.
Dundee currently sit seventh on seven points and Fife occupy ninth, on six points but the Flyers have already beaten the Stars twice this season as they won both of their Challenge Cup Group Stage contests against their arch rivals.
Despite suffering two defeats, Marc LeFebvre’s men had led in both games before allowing the Flyers to come back and snatch the victories.
Leading Fife’s offensive production against the Stars are Johan Eriksson, Anthon Eriksson and Troy Lajeunesse with two goals each, although the former Star, Johan Eriksson has six points in two games against his old club.
Meanwhile, Anthony Rinaldi’s three goals and one assist makes him Dundee’s top scoring player against their cross-river rivals and whilst he has not scored a point in his last two matches, he will be hungry to get back on the scoresheet tonight.
The Stars arrive at the Fife Ice Arena off the back of a win and a loss last weekend as they went down to Coventry and beat the Blaze 5-3 on Saturday night, before feeling the burn of Coventry’s revenge on Sunday night in Dundee, as they went down 5-2.
Whereas, Tom Coolen’s Flyers were 2-0 up at home to Glasgow Clan on Saturday but went on to lose 3-2 in overtime and were then beaten 5-2 away to Guildford Flames on Sunday, which moved them off the foot of the league table and between the Flyers and Stars.
Looking ahead to his side’s first league Derby match, Stars Head Coach, LeFebvre said: “We just need a good start and this is our only league game of the week, so we have to be ready right from the get go.
“They have made some changes to their roster but against our rivals, we have to be ready no matter what because we want to create that separation in the standings between them and us.
“We are going to be playing a desperate hockey team, they have not had a great run of results lately and their hoping to rectify that, so we just have to be ready from the first puck drop.”
He continued: “We need to make sure we play defence, because I thought we were really loose on Sunday for two periods but we just got ahead of ourselves with a few wins and winning on Saturday night against the same team but every game is going to be a challenge no matter what,
“It is our only league game so we need two points.”
Stars leading scorer against the Flyers, Anthony Rinaldi then added: “Fife games bring a different kind of energy because rivalry games are something special here and we all look forward to these games and even though we had a short practice week, we will be ready to play tomorrow.
“We all need to put in a bit more effort and we all know that, I thought we competed well against Belfast and Coventry, and we know what it feels like to win now, so we just have to keep that momentum and keep grinding.”
The Canadian also discussed what will be key to claiming victory tonight, commenting: “Marc emphasises playing 60 minutes and that is something that we are going to keep striving for and that will help us in the long run, which we have seen against a couple teams now.
“So, if we can play a 60-minute game then we are going to come out with a positive result.”
Face-off time for tonight’s game in Fife is at 7:30pm.