By Kris Smith
Last night, the Stars suffered their first loss of the season in Kirkcaldy as they fell 4-1 to their local rivals, Fife Flyers.
The home team had the first few chances before finally opening the scoring in the 16th minute through forward, Kyle Just, as he arrived at the back post to turn in Michal Gutwald’s pass.
Dundee were quick to respond after the restart and they had the Flyers scrambling in their own zone, allowing Egils Kalns time and space to fire a low shot past Adam Morrison, 100 seconds later.
The teams were still tied after the first period but when Fife got their first powerplay of the night on the back of a Reilly O’Connor tripping foul, Chase Schaber restored the lead.
Todd Dutiaume’s men had pressed Dundee deep into their own end and won back possession before James Livingston sent the puck out in front from behind the Stars goal, where Schaber was waiting to rifle a shot into the top right corner on 32 minutes.
Dundee had a number of key chances after the goal to get the score tied once more but they lacked their usual finishing touch and found themselves behind after 40 minutes.
In the third session, Fife defended well and used their bodies heavily against the Stars but Omar Pacha’s players were just not in the right place at the right time to finish of an abundance of second chances.
With a late powerplay given to Dundee, as Just was boxed for sending the puck out of play from his own end in the 54th minute, a goal for either side would change the complexion of the game drastically.
Although, despite a few chances for the visitors, Fife had one opportunity to get forward with the puck and Schaber and Paul Crowder did just that.
Crowder picked out his teammate who was rushing in ahead of him and Schaber got a last second touch on the puck to direct it past approaching Stars goaltender, Alex Leclerc.
Crowder added the empty net goal 11 seconds from time to seal the win for the Kirkcaldy club and snap their 14-game losing run.
After Glasgow Clan beat Manchester Storm 3-2 on the West of Scotland on Saturday night, the Stars remain just one-point outside the playoff spots and a win tonight could see them overtake the Storm, if they lose at home to a now uplifted Fife side.
Kris Inglis and Alex Schoenborn will be missing for the Stars tonight and the sixth placed Flames come to the DIA 11 points ahead of Dundee with 43 from 38 matches.
The last tie between the two sides, ended in a 5-4 shootout win for Dundee on Tayside.
Matt Carter, Kalns, Colton Kroeker, Drydn Dow and Anthony Beauregard all scored for the Stars and Jordan Abt, Jordan Rowley, T.J. Foster and Kruise Reddick netted for Guildford.
Paul Dixon’s men lost their last match 3-2 in Coventry to the Blaze on Friday evening, Braylon Shmyr and Rowley found the back of the net for the Surrey side but defenseman, Stephen Lee, forward, Erik Lindhagen and extra goaltender, Mike Will were not in the line-up.
Also, Ben Davies will not be available for tonight’s game as he is currently on international duty with Team GB as they compete in the Olympic qualification tournament in Nottingham.
The Flames also lost Cam Braes this week as he was released from the club but he was not a free agent for long as Manchester signed him up for the rest of the 2019/20 campaign.
Previewing tonight’s battle with the Flames, Stars Head Coach, Pacha said: “Guildford are still in the hunt for the title, no matter what people say and think about the standings right now.
“They are obviously a very competitive team and we have to make sure we play the same way we did last time against them.
“This is a huge, huge weekend for us and luckily, we have short travel again.
“Last weekend it was Glasgow and this week its Fife, so hopefully that will give us an advantage tonight but we have to make sure we come in really prepared to get something out of this game.
“Our home form has been really good recently, post-Christmas we have four wins from the last five games, so that is a good record and something we have to keep building on.”
Dundee defenseman, Dow is also expecting a difficult match against Guildford tonight and he added: “These home games down the stretch are going to be huge for us.
“We need to make sure to take full advantage and get as many points in our own building as possible if we want to make playoffs.
“Every game is a tough battle in this league, it’s so close from top to bottom this year and anyone can do anything on any night, so I expect the Flames to bring a hard game tonight.
“We need to make sure to play strong defensively, they are a team that can capitalise on mistakes, so it’s important for us to play a simple but hard game.”
Face-off time for Sunday’s home game is at 5pm.