By Kris Smith
The Stars finished the last part of their busy holiday schedule and came away with 50 per cent of the available points from their three fixtures.
Dundee Stars 2 Belfast Giants 3
On January 2, Dundee had their first home game of 2020 but came up short against the reigning Elite League champions.
A win for the Giants meant that each side had won four games during their eight regular season meetings and the overall series score finished 29-25 in favour to Belfast, who out-shot Dundee 312-216.
Kevin Dufour finished as the Stars top scorer against the Northern Irish club as he found seven different ways into the Giants net and Curtis Hamilton netted the most for Belfast, as he beat Alex Leclerc on four occasions.
The Stars overall powerplay against Adam Keefe’s men finished at 20.69 per cent as they scored on six of 29 chances and the penalty kill finished at 88.46 per cent, as Dundee only gave up three goals from 26 opportunities.
Nottingham Panthers 5 Dundee Stars 4 (after penalties)
Last Saturday, Omar Pacha’s men claimed their first point of the season against Nottingham as they also took part in their first competitive shootout of the campaign.
Despite not scoring, forward Anthony Beauregard continued his point-streak against the Panthers as he recorded his fourth point in a fourth straight match against the Nottinghamshire club.
After the Stars took five penalty shots, both Matt Marquardt and Matt Carter have 100 per cent records as they both converted on their first chances of the season from centre ice.
Meanwhile, defenseman, Drydn Dow now sits at 50 per cent as he missed, taking his tally of the season to one for two and netminder, Alex Leclerc managed to stop two of the five shots he faced.
Guildford Flames 2 Dundee Stars 6
On Sunday past, Dundee came away with only their second ever victory at the Spectrum Arena in Elite League years and Elite League Player of the Week, Dufour bagged his second hat-trick in eight days.
The Canadian winger scored a trio of goals in Belfast on December 30, and lit the lamp three more times in Surrey, taking his season total to 25.
Also, those hat-tricks were Dufour’s first at professional level but with 23 games left in the regular season, the Canadian is just 13 goals shy of the Stars highest scorer in a single season as Nico Sacchetti bagged 38 in the 2013-14 campaign.
The Stars sixth goal in Guildford was also their 100th league goal of the season and it was scored by the captain, Marquardt.
There have been some changes to the team’s statistics leaders for league matches but Dufour still heads up the goals and points categories with 18 and 31, while Beauregard now tops assists with 20.
Meanwhile, Jagger Dirk now has the most penalty minutes with 32 in 32 games and Beauregard has the most powerplay goals with five.
Colton Kroeker’s shorthanded goal against the Flames, means he joins, Beauregard and Elgin Pearce as the only other players to score a shorthanded goal this season.
Also, Leclerc is only one save shy of 1000 stops in league action, so his first save on Saturday will mark the milestone for the Canadian.
Seven players head into Week 20 on point-streaks and they are led by Carter who has continued his collection of at least one point in every appearance he has made for the Stars.
The winger now has 11 points from the last eight matches and he is followed by Dufour with five in the last two, Dirk and Kroeker have four from the previous pair and Dow, Beauregard and Marquardt all have three from last weekend’s games.
This weekend sees the Stars battle with the Flames once more before heading south to dance with the Devils for the first time in 2020.
The Stars start off this week’s action by hosting their last opponents.
Paul Dixon brings his side back to the Dundee Ice Arena on Saturday as they aim to avenge their 6-2 home defeat from Dundee last time out but the Tayside team now lead 2-1 in the overall series after winning 6-2 on home ice back in September.
Therefore, Pacha’s men are ahead in scoring with 13 goals compared to the Flames 11 and four of those Dundee goals have been scored by Dufour and another three by Marquardt.
Leclerc has faced 114 shots from Guildford, stopping 91.23 per cent of them and during his 14-minute run out against the Surrey side, Brython Preece saved five of the six shots against him.
Meanwhile, ex-Star, Travis Fullerton has stopped 79 of the 92 shots from his former club or 85.87 per cent of them.
This Sunday, the Stars are on the road as they return to the Viola Arena in Cardiff, where on their last, they were involved in a 14-goal thriller.
The Devils have won both match-ups this season and have out-scored the Stars 12-8 but Pacha’s squad will go in search of their fourth Elite League win in Cardiff.
Dow leads the side in goals against Cardiff with three and he netted twice down in Wales last time, along with two strikes from Pearce and single goals from Dufour and Justin Maylan.
Whereas, four Devils have each scored twice against the Stars this season and they are; Stephen Dixon, Matt Pope, Matthew Myers and Sean McMonagle.
Saturday’s home game at the DIA will face-off at 7pm and Sunday’s road game in Cardiff begins at 6pm. You can buy your tickets for Saturday’s home game HERE.
Thanks to www.starsstats.co.uk/ which was created by Dave Sweetin (@dave_sweetin) and Elite Prospects for making some of the information used in this article available online.