By Kris Smith
The Stars have won on all of their last three visits to the Utilita Arena and all have been by one goal.
Last season, a 5-4 league win was followed by a 1-0 victory in the Playoff Quarter-Finals before this season, they defeated the Steelers 2-1 in their first visit to Yorkshire.
However, Aaron Fox’s men have won all three games in Dundee this season and claimed their latest on Sunday evening as they beat the Tayside team 5-2.
Brett Neumann opened the scoring to put the Steelers ahead in the first period and two goals from Martin Latal and one from Robert Dowd had the visitors 4-0 in front before Ben Sokay’spowerplay goal got the Stars on the board.
Elijiah Barriga would also score on the man advantage in the third period to make it a two-goal game, but Danny Kristo’s strike would seal the two points for Sheffield.
The Steelers also sit second in the league, whilst the Stars are one spot out of the playoff berths in ninth as the league campaign passes the halfway mark.
The Stars also have a growing injury list as forward, Philippe Sanche and defenseman, Chris Lijdsman picked up knocks last week that has taken them out of action and that means they are now three imports down.
Looking ahead to tonight’s away game, Stars Head Coach, Jeff Mason said: “When we down there last time we had success and we were able to keep them out on the perimeter and not give them a lot of Grade-A chances around our ‘house’.
“So, that is obviously key for us again, trying to limit their transition because they like to play really fast and we have to be at our best defensively, but I would also like to see us get more second and third chances on Matt Greenfield, than we did on Sunday.
“After a long trip down, our start is always key and we want to play fast and hopefully get in front early and play with the lead, because it is obviously hard to chase games against good teams in their building.”
With his team suffering through a bad bout of injuries, Mason continued: “We are a banged-up team right now and we are playing a number of imports short.
“We have played a lot of hockey over the last few weeks but we need the guys to dig in and find a way.
“After Wednesday, we will get a bit of a Christmas break, so time for the guys to rest and heal, then see where we go from there and I am still not sure what the line-up will look like tonight.
“If we can get some guys back then it will allow us to play with a bit more pace and to keep that pace up throughout the course of the game.”
This is also the first of four sets of back-to-back games for the Stars as they play their second straight game against the Steelers and the American coach is hoping for an early Christmas present.
He added: “When you play teams back-to-back you can hopefully try to learn things on the first night that you can use to your advantage on the second.
“Then, if you play the same team for six periods in a row then sometimes people get agitated with each other, but our focus is on going in there and coming out with the points, because we need to start putting them on the board and there is no better time than a game down in Sheffield, before we go off for Christmas.”
Face-off is at 7:30pm tonight.
All images: Dean Wooley.