By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars are aiming to do the double over Sheffield Steelers with a second victory of the weekend at home this evening.
Omar Pacha’s Stars defeated Tom Barrasso’s Steelers 6-3 in Yorkshire last evening. Two quick goals from Fabrizio Ricci, and Drydn Dow gave Dundee the lead inside the opening 10 minutes. Sheffield responded with a goal from Mark Matheson but Ricci was on the mark again as he made it 3-1 before the first break.
The only goal in the second period came from John Armstrong as he netted a powerplay goal. The home side had tied the game through Ryan Martinelli early in the final stanza but after hitting some penalty trouble, Stars re-took the lead.
Matt Marquardt’s and François Bouchard’s powerplay markers made it 5-3 to the Tayside team before Ricci bagged his-hat-trick with an empty net goal. That victory was not only Dundee’s first of the New Year but also their first ever in Yorkshire as they broke a 25-game losing streak in the House of Steel, it was also Pacha’s first as a coach in Sheffield.
Dundee were only without Jordan Kelsall who was on international duty with Great Britain Under 20’s, as was two of Sheffield’s players. The Steelers were five players down in total and chose to scratch netminder, Matt Climie but he is likely to start against Dundee this evening.
Last night’s win tied Stars level on points with Sheffield, who have a game in hand but only three points separate ninth place Stars and Glasgow Clan in fifth.
Talking last night after his side’s first victory of 2019, Stars head coach, Pacha said:
“I think overall we played a good road game.
“We had a great start and I think Sheffield outplayed us in the second, although, our special teams in the third really stepped up, especially the powerplay.
“For tomorrow, we will have a look at the tape and see the things we did well and move on from there.”
In regard to winning his first game as a coach in Sheffield, Pacha added: “Finally that is over but no game should just be about coaches records.
“However, now it feels good that it’s finally done.”
Hat-trick hero, Fabrizio Ricci also spoke after the match and talking about his goals, he said: “It obviously felt good, the pucks were hitting my stick tonight which is always good as a forward to have that happen.
“It is my first career hat trick so it’s always special when the team also gets a win, especially when it’s against the Steelers.
“I think we just battled hard and came in with the mindset that tonight was the night we were going to get the win.
“We were confident and stuck to the game plan and we were successful doing so.”
Looking ahead to tonight’s clash, the Canadian forward added: “Tomorrow is another big game against the same big team that will come out hard to battle for a road win.
“So it’s crucial to have the same mindset and carry the momentum forward into a quick turnaround game at home in front of our fans.
“Tomorrow will be a battle like I said, and to do it in front of our fans will always be fun.
“The atmosphere will be great like it always is and we will come out with the same and if not more energy for the 60 minutes.”
Tonight’s game faces-off at 5pm.