By Kris Smith
The Stars came into the weekend off a 5-2 defeat down in Cardiff last weekend but a loss last night in Coventry, combined with other results meant that they fell four points away from the last playoff spot.
Dundee are searching for their first win of the season against Andrew Lord’s Devils, as the Welsh club have been the victors in all three fixtures so far this season.
Second place Cardiff are trying to make up ground on the league leading, Sheffield Steelers and will be hungry to claim another win against the Stars in Scotland, after edging out a 4-2 on their last trip.
Kevin Dufour and Matt Marquardt netted for the Tayside team a week ago in Wales, while Blair Riley, Joey Haddad (2), Matt Pope and Stephen Dixon found the net for the Devils.
Looking ahead to the second fixture of the weekend, Stars Head Coach, Omar Pacha said:
“We have to get something against Cardiff, we kind of owe them from the last game and obviously Cardiff are always going to be a tough team to play.
“I couldn’t fault the effort against Cardiff last Sunday but our execution just wasn’t there.
“However, they had a home game last night and we were on the road, so whoever comes out ready tonight will probably get the result but we have to make sure our special teams are a lot better because they can potentially be the difference maker in that game.
“Our powerplay was okay against Cardiff last week, I would have liked it to be better in the second period and our penalty kill has to be better because eventually that cost us the first two goals against Cardiff but they do have a great powerplay.
“We just need to keep using our speed to create offence and I thought we created some great chances against Cardiff.”
Dundee forward, Brett Stovin also expects a tough challenge against the current playoff champions but knows this is the must-win time of the season.
He said: “Honestly, we just have to keep doing what we are doing, Cardiff are a really good hockey team but you have to play a full 60 minutes and pretty much perfectly in your systems in order to beat them.
“It is one of those games, where you need really good goaltending and you need to be opportunistic and score when you get your chances.”
“It is pretty much playoff hockey for the rest of the way and if you are in North America the playoff run is over 20 games and that’s what we have left in our season.
“So, it is playoff hockey for us for the rest of the season and every game is a must win, we have our sights set on a playoff position and we just have to take it game by game.”
With the gap growing between the ninth placed Stars and the top eight, the Canadian forward also stressed the importance of avoiding another losing streak.
Stovin added: “If you go on a little bit of a bad slide for three or four games then you are going to be out of the playoffs, that’s the reality for us.
“So, it is obviously extremely important to keep finding ways to win and to win games that we have to win and try to steal a couple victories on the road or against top of the table teams.
“It’s so important to string a couple wins together right now and then keep it going.”
Tonight’s home game against Cardiff begins at 5pm and you can buy your tickets HERE.