By Kris Smith
The Stars can climb up into the top half of the Elite League table if they take two points off the current pace-setters, who are tied on points with Guildford Flames and looking to move into a solo-lead.
Dundee and Sheffield have already met twice in this campaign and after a 7-1 thrashing in Scotland, Aaron Fox’s men returned to the Dundee Ice Arena to claim a 5-0 victory, just 10 days ago.
However, the Stars have put those heavy defeats behind them and produced back-to-back wins at the weekend, as they came back from 2-1 down to beat Nottingham Panthers 4-2, on Friday night.
A hat-trick from Elijiah Barriga pushed the Tayside team ahead, before Philippe Sanche scored his first of the weekend to confirm Dundee’s first win of the season and he was on the scoresheet again on Saturday, with a pair of goals against Fife Flyers.
The Stars were the away team in the latest Tayside Derby and took the lead through Romans Semjonovs – who is also the only Dundee player to score against Sheffield this season – before Sanche’s double gave them a late lead and Barriga scored into an empty net.
Meanwhile, the Steelers were 5-2 victors in Cardiff as they downed the Devils thanks to goals from Daniel Ciampini (2), Brett Neumann, Adam Raska and Martin Latal, on Saturday night.
Then on Sunday, the English club shutout the Flyers 6-0 at home, with Raska, Danny Kristo, Brandon Whistle, Ciampini, Scott Allen and Brandon McNally all on the scoresheet.
The Stars should have a full line-up for the mid-week fixture but injured duo, Colin Joe and Ben Sokay remain out of action.
Discussing the difficult task of toppling the league leaders in their own building, Stars Head Coach, Jeff Mason said: “Scoring early and playing from the front is important against any team, but we certainly do not want to be chasing the game against a team who have as much offensive power as Sheffield.
“So, it is important that we start well and we have done that in the two previous games against them, but finding a way to get a lead and to get out in front will make a big difference.”
He continued: “It is extremely important for us to come out right from the drop of the puck and get into our systems.
“We need to play smart, manage the puck and get our legs into the game after the long bus ride, so our start will be key.”
With the Stars defensive efforts showing an improvement during the past weekend, the American coach also insistence that his side cannot drop their guard.
Mason added: “We have worked on a number of things that will help us but the important thing is and we saw it against Sheffield and Belfast that you cannot have any of lapses where you fall out of your structure or systems.
“Because if you fall apart for even a small period of time, teams with that much offensive power can explode for a number of goals and put the game out of reach, so it is important that we play a full 60 or 60-plus minutes, whatever it takes.”
Face-off is at 7:30pm, tonight in Sheffield and you can purchase the Steelers TV webcast HERE.
All images: Derek Black.