By Kris Smith
This will be the second instalment of this feisty affair so far in the 2019/20 season and after last night’s huge win against the current Challenge Cup and League champions the Stars will be fired up for this clash in Kirkcaldy.
In the first instalment in September against Fife, Stars lost 2 – 0. Chase Schaber finally broke the stalemate between the two teams after netminders, Alex Leclerc and Fife’s Adam Morrison had kept the game scoreless until the 41st minute.
Danick Gauthier’s empty net goal sealed the win for Todd Dutiaume’s men but that would be the Stars only loss in the Challenge Cup coming into their final Group A game.
Last night the Stars complete a sweep of the Belfast Giants in the Challenge Cup group stage.
After winning 4-3 in Belfast and never being behind, they won 4-3 at home yesterday and came form behind on three occasions.
Jean Dupuy had the Giants ahead before Kevin Dufour levelled the score before the first break but Ben Lake swiftly put the visitors back in front in the second stanza.
However, a selfless play by Anthony Beauregard allowed Duncan Speirs to equalise for Dundee.
Although a sneaky shot from a tight angle by Curtis Hamilton put Adam Keefe’s men back on top in the third stanza, Colton Kroeker’s quick and rising shot levelled things off inside the final five minutes.
Kroeker quickly became a Stars hero as he deflected Egils Kalns’ shot to put Dundee ahead with less than two minutes to play and it was a lead they would hold onto.
That win has moved Dundee clear of the Giants and the Fife Flyers in the cup standings and therefore will advance to the knockout stage as a seeded team.
The Glasgow Clan ended any chances of the Flyers trying to stop the Stars from winning the group as they came from behind to win 3-2 at the Braehead Arena.
Tim Crowder gave Fife the lead in the opening period before Mathieu Roy brought Glasgow back onto level terms but a second stanza, powerplay goal from James Livingston had the Kirkcaldy club back in front.
However, Zack Fitzgerald’s men rallied in the final session and former Dundee Stars, Mikael Lidhammar made it 2-2 before Roy’s second goal came in the final minutes to put the Clan ahead and give the home team the win.
Discussing the last clash with Fife, Stars head coach Omar Pacha said: “We are going day by day and just focusing on Saturday but we played okay against them (Fife) last time, we just couldn’t find a way past their goalie.
“It wasn’t a terrible game, we were just lacking a bit of execution around the net but I think we match up well against Fife.”
Stars goaltender, Brython Preece is not unfamiliar with the Fife Ice Arena and Challenge Cup games but the young Welshman believes that these games are no different to any other, no matter the venue.
He said: “They don’t feel any different, with points on the line you want to win and you want to play well too.
“In the Challenge Cup you have the chance to advance and having a chance to play in the semi-finals and the final is a bigger prize at the end of it but there is really no difference in the games.”
The 21-year old previously visited Kirkcaldy during his time with the Coventry Blaze and knows just how intense the atmosphere can be.
Brython added: “It’s very loud and the fans are loud but it gets you into the game very quickly and it is nice that it is so close now because the travel isn’t too bad and the boys will all be up for it on Sunday.”
After frustratingly losing their last encounter with the Flyers, the whole Stars squad are ready to even the score.
“It was a very tough game to lose and some bounces didn’t go our way but that happens sometimes.
“Now we have had some good weeks in practice we are ready to get them back.
“You can feel the energy in the building is a lot more, the fans want to win more and the players want it more.
“The players who have been here before really get the locker room going”, said Preece.
Sunday’s game at the Fife Ice Arena will face-off at 5:30pm.