By Kris Smith
This weekend sees the Stars continue their long-run of away games as they play their third and fourth consecutive games on the road, but are also aiming to keep their hot-streak alive as they remain unbeaten in their last three league games.
Jeff Mason took his side to the league-leading Sheffield Steelers on Wednesday and caused an upset as the Stars overturned some heavy odds to take a 2-1 victory out of the Utilita Arena.
Stars captain, Fabrizio Ricci had fired the Tayside team into the lead in the second period, before Martin Latal drew the home side level with a powerplay goal, just moments later but Carter Folk would convert his breakaway for the game-winning-goal in the third period.
Dundee now visit Manchester for their second clash of the season, after dropping a 4-1 lead and going on to lose 5-4 in overtime at home against the Storm, three weeks ago.
Matt Ginn’s men have not won since and have shipped in 20 goals in the last five games, but their previous nine-minute comeback against the Stars will give their players some motivation.
On the scoresheet in the first game was Phillipe Sanche, Romans Semjonovs, Hugo Reinhardt and Elijiah Barriga for Dundee, while Scott Simmonds, Michael Korol, Tyson Fawcett, Dallas Ehrhardt and Jesper Ohrvall found the net for the Storm.
The Stars will still be without the current injured duo of Colin Joe and Ben Sokay, but the pair are nearing a return to action, and they will also be missing Jonathan McBean and Ben Brown as they fulfil their two-way contracts.
Looking ahead to the weekend on the road, Stars Head Coach, Jeff Mason said: “We just have to keep building on what we have and Manchester is a tough place to play, it is a small building and there is not a lot of room or time and space, so you have to be ready to make plays quickly.
“They are a team that plays very hard in that building so we need to be ready to come and play, ready to execute and make hard and fast plays.
“We need to focus on a 60-minute effort because we are confident that we can play well against them, it is just about sustaining that for the full 60 minutes.
“I think the games in Manchester play a lot differently from the games outside of Manchester, just because of the size of the rink and the adjustments you need to make.
“They are a team that plays hard and who are tied with us in the standings, so we want to put ourselves above them and that means coming out with a good effort, get off to a good start then carry that through three periods and possibly more.”
After finding some good form away from home lately, Stars defence, Erik Näslund then added: “We have to continue working hard like we have done over the last few games and we have saw that pay off lately.
“So, if we continue to do that, stick to the plan and work our assess off then we will continue to have more success.”
The Swede also explains how he believes they might enjoy playing on the unusually small ice pad in Manchester.
He said: “We were talking about it before the weekend, it is odd and different type of building but that is no excuse and it is the same for everyone in this league.
“Although, I actually think we might enjoy playing there on the tight surface and it might benefit our game, so we just have to go out there and play as we normally would.”
Finally Erik shared what he believes has been key to the Stars turnaround in form and said: “It starts with our practices and Jeff has been extremely dedicated to getting us back on course, we had a number of meetings to look at how we should be playing and we talked a lot about what our keys to be successful are.
“Jeff has been amazing through it all and delivered the information in a way so that we could take it onto the ice and do something well with it.”
Face-off times for tonight’s game in Manchester is at 7pm.
All images: Derek Black.