The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars visit playoff rivals, Manchester Storm tonight as the two contenders battle it out sixth spot as the race for the playoffs heats up.

By Kris Smith

The Stars visit Manchester for only the second time this season after suffering a 4-2 defeat in a very tight contest back on their league opening game, as Jonathan McBean put the Stars in front and Anthony Rinaldi would tie the game up at 2-2 in the second period.

However, Dallas Ehrhard, Stephen Johnson (2) and Andreas Heier all found the net to give Storm the home win, but they failed to find victory on their two visits to Dundee as they went down 3-2 after penalties and then 4-1 in their most recent clash.

The Elite League’s leading point scorer, Ryan Valentini and the league leading goal scorer, Spencer Naas both have the most points against Manchester this season with four each, whilst Heier, Tyler Hinam and Matt Murphy have all scored three points against the Stars.

The Storm were 5-2 winners over Belfast Giants at home on Wednesday, in their last outing as they came from 2-0 down to score five, with Ehrhardt and Joe Morrow capitalising on powerplays, Loren Ulett scoring whilst shorthanded and Samuel Tremblay and Hinam bagging the last two.

Meanwhile, the Stars went down 5-1 in Nottingham to the Panthers with Jake Elmer scoring their lone-goal and starting keeper, Kevin Carr missing from the line-up for the second time in three games.



Stars forward, Valentini gave his thoughts ahead of tonight’s trip to Manchester, he said: “We know their rink, we have practiced some smaller area stuff this week to prepare for it.

“We know what we are getting into because it is a different game compared to these other rinks, so we know we need to be dialled in because everything happens a bit quicker and we need to win.

“We can beat any team and anyone can beat anyone in this league, which is wild but we have beat them the last few times which is a good feeling but we also need those points, we have dropped a few in the last couple of games, so we need to win, no matter who we play.”

The Canadian currently has 44 points through 41 games and attributed his success to the strong bond between him and his linemates, Brendan Harms and Naas.

Ryan added: “Obviously the whole team has helped me but specifically my linemates, we have a lot of chemistry and we are good friends off the ice.



“We are aware of how each other play and we are able to read off each other really well and I have to give Marc (LeFebvre) some credit, he lets me do my thing, so the people around me just allows me to play my game and not worry about the little things.

“On the ice, it is just about playing my game and like I said, my linemates are perfect and we complement each other’s game so well.

“We are all a bit different and bring something different to the game and we work well together.

“We have run into some hot goalies in the last couple games but we have played pretty well all year, so we just have to get back to scoring.”

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


All images: Storm Images.

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