The in-form Trade-Mart Dundee Stars face the faltering Belfast Giants tonight in Northern Ireland in the first game of a double header against the reigning Elite League champions, to close out 2023.

By Kris Smith

The Stars will conclude the first half of their season with the mission of extending their current winning streak to four and then possibly five matches, as they visit the Giants before hosting Belfast in the very first Hogmanay game to take place at Dundee Ice Arena.

Dundee won 4-2 away to Glasgow Clan before Christmas and then on Boxing Day, also won 4-2 against their other Scottish rivals, Fife Flyers in Kirkcaldy, before winning 10-1 at home, on December 27.

The Tayside teams recent run of results have moved them up into sixth place in the Elite League table and exactly four points behind Belfast in third, with those four points up for grabs this weekend.

Adam Keefe’s men had appeared to have arrested a bad spell of inconsistency after they sunk down the table but in recent weeks, found their feet again.

However, the Giants have kept on stumbling and after narrowly defeating the Flyers in a shootout last week, on Thursday night in Belfast, they were beaten 1-0 by the Clan in front of a sold-out crowd.

Marc LeFebvre will be taking his side to the SSE Arena with full intention of piling on the titleholder’s recent misery and he can do so with new signing, Elijah Vilio in the line-up.

The Canadian defender arrived into Dundee on Thursday and will join defensive partner, Sean Allen in coming into the fold as he returns from a one-game suspension.



Meanwhile, forward Jake Elmer missed the Tayside Derbies against Fife due to illness but could be available for this weekend’s matches, although the Stars now carry one spare import meaning one will have to sit out of the action alongside, injured blueliner, Kris Inglis.

The last time the Stars met the Giants was in Dundee back in late October and a 6-3 win for the Scots kick-started their charge to become the highest scoring team in the league and also kicked the legs out and sent Belfast spiralling.

Brendan Harms fired the Stars ahead just 30 seconds into the match before Johnny Curran and Jacob Friend both netted inside the opening 10 minutes to put the Giants ahead.

Dundonian, Craig Garrigan then levelled the score, only for Ben Lake to make it 3-2 to Belfast at the halfway point.

In the third period, it took Ryan Valentini just 39 seconds to tie the game and two minutes later, Kyle Pouncy put Dundee ahead before a brace from captain, Drydn Dow sealed the victory.

Speaking before the trip to Belfast, Stars Head Coach, Marc LeFebvre said: “It is a massive game for us, we are trying to catch them in the standings and that starts tonight.

“They have a pretty deep line-up but so do we, we have nearly everyone healthy and we are looking forward to a good challenge.

“They are a good team and defending champions for a reason, they have a championship pedigree there and it will be just like every game in this league, a tough challenge.

“It will be playoff hockey and around Christmas time, every game will be tight and we just cannot afford to slip up.”

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


All images: William Cherry/Presseye.

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Trade-Mart Dundee Stars Team
54 Games
22 Wins
25 Losses
7 OT Losses
51 Points