By Kris Smith
After creating a five-game unbeaten streak, the Stars were brought back down to earth by two humbling defeats last weekend.
Last Saturday saw the Storm shutout Dundee and deny them of their first win in Manchester this season.
It was also the second time the Stars had been shutout this year but it is the first time it has happened on the road.
That second loss to Ryan Finnerty’s men now has the season record tied at two wins each, with both sides winning twice at home.
The Stars also gave up their second shorthanded goal of the season when Jared Aulin added the Storm’s third of the night.
However, goaltenders Alex Leclerc and Manchester’s Matt Ginn both made improvements to their statistics and after four matches, Leclerc has stopped 139 of the Storm’s 151 shots for a save percentage of 92.05.
Whereas Ginn has made 136 saves from 146 shots and holds a save percentage of 93.15 but betters Leclerc with a 2.52 goals against average, compared to 3.02.
The two sides won’t meet again until late January.
Sunday’s win for Belfast brought the season record to 3-2-0, making it look a bit more respectable for the reigning Elite League Champions.
Dundee’s only goal of the weekend was scored by Drydn Dow and that was his second goal in the last two ties with the Giants and his seventh of this campaign.
In the 4-1 loss to the Northern Irish club, Dundee’s Canadian goaltender increased his save tally to 207 shots (91.59 per cent) out of 226 against Belfast alone, meaning they have only converted on eight per cent of their strikes.
Meanwhile, his counterpart, Shane Owen has made 107 stops from 122 shots, leaving him with a save percentage of 87.70 and therefore, the Stars have a conversion rate of 12 per cent against the Giants.
Dundee will welcome back the Giants in just under two weeks as they return for some Friday night hockey.
Dow was the only player to move closer to achieving a milestone moment in his Elite League career as he is now only one point away from reaching 20 points in this season.
Jagger Dirk and Justin Maylan also both still need one point for 20 on the season, while Elgin Pearce still requires one point for 25 in all competitions.
Although, Colton Kroeker’s assist on Dow’s goal last Sunday gave him his 10th point as a Star.
In Week 15, the Stars will stay at home as they play in back-to-back home games. First up for the Tayside team is Fife Flyers and a big local rivalry match at the Dundee Ice Arena on Saturday night. Then on Sunday, Coventry Blaze come back to town after a heavy 7-3 beating just a fortnight ago.
Saturday night’s fixture sees the Flyers come back across the River Tay with the hopes of making it two wins in two road games against Dundee.
Fife won the opening contest of the new season with a 2-0 victory on Tayside but have failed to uphold their winning form at home as the Stars have beaten their main rivals twice in Kirkcaldy already.
Despite being shutout at home, Omar Pacha’s side responded with 4-3 and 3-1 victories in Fife.
The seven Stars goals were scored by; Matt Marquardt (2), Kevin Dufour (2), Dow, Dirk and Pearce while Carlo Finucci (2), Chase Schaber, Danick Gauthier, Mike Cazzola and Tim Crowder provided the Flyers’ six.
In the three matches so far with Todd Dutiaume’s side, Dundee have a powerplay success rate of 28.57 per cent as they converted on four of their 14 opportunities.
However, they have yet to give up a powerplay goal to Fife and have killed off all 11 man advantages the Flyers have had this season.
Both netminders have good numbers in this fixture and Leclerc has made a strong start with 90 saves from 96 shots on target, giving him a stop rate of 93.75 per cent.
Meanwhile, Fife’s Adam Morrison has denied 78 of Dundee’s 85 shots, for a save percentage of 91.76 per cent.
A number of Stars players have point streaks running from their last two matches against the Kirkcaldy club.
Egils Kalns has the highest streak with five points in the last two games, Marquardt and Boutin follow him with three in the last two and Dow, Dirk and Pearce have all averaged a point per game over the last pair of ties.
Sunday’s opposition, the Coventry Blaze are making their third trip up to Dundee of the season but the Stars have yet to make opposite journey.
The results have been mixed so far as, the Stars won the last game by seven goals to three but in the first encounter, the Blaze edged out a narrow 2-1 road win.
Dundee have found eight different ways past Jamie Phillips in the Coventry net over 120 minutes and Dufour accounted for three of those strikes.
The other Stars scorers were Jordan Cownie (2), Anthony Beauregard, Maylan and Kalns but the Blaze goals have been scored by five different players.
Evan Bloodoff, Alex Forbes, Luke Ferrara, Dillon Lawrence and Andrew Johnston have each netted for the English club at the DIA this season.
However, despite only scoring one goal in the first game, three Dundee players are on point streaks against the Blaze.
Dufour scored the lone goal in the first fixture before adding a further three points in the second match, Kroeker has assisted once in each tie and Dirk has been involved in three goals over the pair.
Face off time for Saturday’s home game against Fife is at 7pm and it’s a 5pm face-off for Sunday’s league tie at the DIA with Coventry. Buy your tickets HERE.