The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars begin their competitive season tonight with a trip across the Tay Bridge for a Challenge Cup clash with Fife Flyers.

By Kris Smith

The Stars head straight into a Tayside Derby as they begin the Challenge Cup Group Stage and their last outing saw them prevail over the Flyers, as they ended last week with two preseason wins.

Saturday night, saw Dundee beat the Clan 6-3 in Glasgow, before producing a 5-3 comeback victory against the Flyers, on Sunday.

On the scoresheet for the Stars in their last encounter with their Kirkcaldy rivals was Erik Näslund, Philippe Sanche (2), Carter Folk and Devon Daniels, while James Spence, Simon Fernholm and Shawn Cameron found the target for Fife.

Although, whilst Fife were winless throughout their preseason, Todd Dutiaume’s men claimed their first victory of the season by beating the Clan 6-5 on Friday night.

Glasgow had led 3-1 but the Flyers stormed into a 6-3 lead in the third period and held on to win the first game of the new Elite League season, with Cameron (3), Zach Phillips, Janne Kivilahti and Christian Hausinger on target for Fife.

Jeff Mason’s Stars ended their preseason with a 50 per cent win record and head into their competitive debut without the injured duo of Craig Garrigan and Ben Sokay.

 

The Stars stuck five goals past the Flyers on home ice last weekend. (Picture: Derek Black).

 

Forward, Sokay picked up an upper body injury in Glasgow last Saturday and he is set to be out for a while, with his return date still unknown.

Looking ahead to his first weekend of competitive fixtures, Stars Head Coach, Mason said: “It will be a lot of guys first time in that building and from my experiences in Fife, they always play hard in their building in front of that home support.

“It can be a difficult place to play, so it is important that we come out and start fast, not let them get their fans into it as they always come out with a lot of energy and intensity.

“So, we have to match that and manage it, then find a way to get a lead and play from the front, because it is a much easier building to play in from the front rather than if you are chasing a game.”

He continued: “I expect them (Fife) to be better but I also expect us to be better as well.

“My focus is on what we are doing and what makes us successful and we have been working on a lot of stuff systematically and trying to lock those things down and improve on the areas where we see we can.

“So, if we stick to our structure, continue to do the things we have been doing well and our special teams continues to roll then I think we will be in good shape.”

 

Stars boss, Jeff Mason is hoping his side will stick to the gameplan and start their season off with a Challenge Cup win. (Picture: Derek Black).

 

Stars forward, Toms Rutkis has plenty of experience of playing in the Fife Ice Arena and knows just how important it is to stick to the gameplan in these big matches.

He said: “It is a very important game for us and with it being the first one of the season, which already makes it a big occasion, but it is also the fact it is one of our big rivalries, so it is a must win and those games are always fun to play in and intense.

“The fans in there can be something the new guys will not be used to, so it shakes things up, but we just have to play our own game, worry about ourselves and try to come out with a win.”

Face-off time for this Saturday’s game in Fife is at 7:15pm.

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Trade-Mart Dundee Stars Team
37 Games
9 Wins
24 Losses
4 OT Losses
22 Points