By Kris Smith
The Stars host the Blaze this evening to kick-off their first of three-games in three nights and after tonight, Dundee will be on the road for their next five fixtures, as they visit Guildford Flames, Coventry, Cardiff Devils, Glasgow Clan and Fife Flyers.
Just five days ago, Danny Stewart’s side were in Tayside as they took on a Stars side that was reeling from defeat in Belfast on Saturday night, however Dundee bounced back to claim a narrow 2-1 win over Coventry.
The West Midlands club had led 1-0 through Janne Kivilahti, who put them ahead after only three minutes, but the Stars rallied in the second period to get ahead.
Sebastian Bengtsson would tie the game on 30 minutes, before Philippe Sanche scored what proved to be the game-winning-goal in the 34th minute.
Last Sunday’s defeat made it five on the bounce for the Blaze and gave Dundee their seventh victory in 10 games, while also moving the Stars three points clear of their opponents in the league table and up to fifth position.
Tonight’s game is also the club’s annual decades themed night, as the Stars will wear their uniquely themed noughties jerseys and have the atmosphere in the Dundee Ice Arena transport you back to the first 10 years of the 21st century.
The Stars could see injured goaltender, Adam Morrison and forwards, Philippe Sanche and Timi Lahtinen return to action this weekend, as their injuries are now all considered ‘day-to-day’.
However, it is unlikely that the captain, Drydn Dow will play any part in the two games.
Looking ahead to the weekend matches, Stars Head Coach, Pacha said: “It is going to be a tough game in Belfast.
“We have won five of our last six and Belfast are coming in after winning the Challenge Cup on home ice, so it is certainly going to be a challenge for ourselves.
“The truth is that Belfast are top of the league for a reason and I think we should anticipate a really exciting game.
“They are competing for a league title, we are competing for a playoff spot and whilst we have had some success against them this season, it is going to be a huge challenge.”
Speaking about his side’s previous victories against the top three teams who are battling for the title, he continued: “Just recently we beat Sheffield home and away, then also Cardiff, but those aren’t different teams.
“With Belfast, it is always a tough place to go and that team has a lot of firepower in their line-up, just like us and I think they are a well-balanced team and are top of the league for a reason.
“It will be tough and hopefully they exuberated a lot of energy on Wednesday, winning the Challenge Cup.
“So, we need to come well prepared and hope they have a bit of fatigue and we can use that to our advantage, but they have a deep squad so I am sure they will be ready to go.”
Then with his side facing Coventry on Sunday, Pacha added: “Last time we played them, Mo (Morrison) had a great night and we got the shutout.
“I did not think we had a great first period but we eased ourselves into the game and got the job done.
“They have a very balanced line-up as well, very strong defensemen, great goaltending and some good offence.
“So for us, it is about coming back from Belfast and using the last few home games to our advantage, we have won our last three at home now and we have to build on that for the last five home games to protect our home ice down the stretch.
“That is the most important thing down this final stretch, our home ice is so valuable and we have to make sure we use that to our advantage.”
Face-off time for tonight’s home game is at 7:30pm.