By Kris Smith
Kitmart Dundee Stars begin an away triple header with a game against Nottingham Panthers on tonight as Omar Pacha’s men look to continue picking up points in an eighth consecutive match.
The first game against Nottingham is only their second meeting with Rich Chernomaz’s side this season. Last time, Panthers stole the extra point in Dundee after a tightly contested tie was decided in overtime. Lukas Lundvald netted Dundee’s only goal.
Nottingham sit second in the Elite League standings and are three points off the top spot. Dundee sit in seventh place and with two points between them and sixth-place Sheffield Steelers, Stars will be keen to catch the side that ended their six-game winning run.
Both teams come into the game in losing form as Dundee aim to avoid a second straight loss in the league and Panthers try to snap a two-game losing run. Chernomaz’s men were defeated by Coventry Blaze and Manchester Storm last weekend.
One positive for Stars heading into a tough weekend is that they have a full-squad available for Friday night in Nottingham. The English team were without Robert Lachowicz, Jon Rheault, Sam Gospel and Kevin Henderson in last Tuesday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final, where they lost 4-2 to Manchester.
Looking ahead to what will be a tough triple header for Stars, head coach Omar Pacha said: “It is important to get right back at it and we are still on this run of picking up points in the last seven games, hopefully we can keep that streak going against Nottingham.
“It is going to be the first time we go there and it is always a cool place to play.
“It is a great atmosphere and I think the guys will be very excited for it.”
Stars reverted to the same style of play they used at the beginning of the season and this has been paying off for the Taysiders.
Pacha added: “We will focus more on ourselves and that is what we have been doing recently and we seem to have had a lot of success.
“We will probably stick to our style of play but we will obviously make adjustments to combat what other teams do on their special teams.
“We will just go game-by-game and prep differently for every single match but ultimately we want to play our game.”
However, with three games in three nights, the Stars boss wants to avoid tiredness setting in late and hopes his players can keep fighting all weekend.
He stated: “Hopefully the adrenaline can kick-in, we want to make sure that we have our legs all weekend, but we also need to make sure that we try to get everyone the appropriate rest after the games and make sure we are eating right and doing all these little things, so we have energy throughout the three games.”
His offensive units are finally firing after a slow start to the season and Pacha is pleased with their production, he said: “I think it is good that my offence is not only producing in that week where we had three games but they are scoring six goals against Belfast, five against Milton Keynes.
“It was unfortunate against Sheffield that we got beat, we deserved more but you can just see we are getting a lot more chances.
“We are a lot more confident around the net and at times we are shooting pucks more and getting pucks to the net more rather than before when we were passing up shots.”
Many Stars fans are making the journey south for the three games and the Canadian is delighted with the support.
Pacha said: “The fact the fans can make the trip is amazing and credit to them, it will be great to have our fans on the road.”
Tonight’s match at the Motorpoint Arena will face-off at 7:30pm.