By Kris Smith
The Stars are on a roll and have won their last four Elite League matches and this five-game unbeaten streak is the longest one they have put together so far this season.
The two Scottish clubs could not be separated last Friday as the first leg of the Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals ended in a stalemate and it is the first draw that Dundee have recorded since the 2011/12 season, which was back when group stage games did not exceed the regulation 60 minutes.
The Stars have never gone into a second leg tied on score but will do so when they travel to Glasgow on December 11.
Last Saturday’s match was, as reflected by the score, very tight, however Dundee dominated in scoring chances and were robbed of a few certain goals by Patrick Killeen, who was outstanding in the Glasgow goal.
The Stars shot-stopper Alex Leclerc was also performing at the top of his game when the Clan hit the home side with some quick counters and as a reward, both netminders were selected as ‘Man of the Match’ award winners – Leclerc’s seventh of the season.
The Taysiders out-shot Glasgow 47-25 but only beat Killeen once and it was through Anthony Beauregard, as he tied the game after Nolan LaPorte had given the visitors the lead in the first minute of the second period.
On Saturday night, Dundee got their own back against Coventry as they made up for a narrow 2-1 loss at home earlier in the season and the latest match was also a tight game.
However, this time both teams looked dangerous and capable of limitless scoring but the Stars took a grip of the game in the second period before killing it off in the final session.
Kevin Dufour scored in the first match between Dundee and the West Midlands club and netted another two-last week, as well as picking up an assist.
From the first match, the stats showed just how evenly match the two teams really were as they both had 30 shots on target each and this time again, there was only a four-shot difference as the Blaze led the shot count 38-34.
One major difference in the recent fixture was the special teams as the Stars went zero for four on the powerplay in the first match but had a success rate of 50 per cent on Saturday. Also, they had a 100 per cent penalty kill against Danny Stewart’s men, who scored both shorthanded and powerplay goals back in October.
Points Leaders (all competitions)
Dufour still tops the goals chart with 15 and points with 29, while Jagger Dirk still leads the assists category with an improved 17 for the season after setting-up three more goals at the weekend.
Justin Maylan’s powerplay goal against the Blaze has tied him with Elgin Pearce and Matt Marquardt for the most powerplay goals this season, as all three have now netted four each.
Only two players are heading into Week 14 on point-streaks but after netting seven goals last week, plenty of other Stars have the chance to create streaks this weekend.
Dirk has the longest streak with seven points in the last five games and after collecting four points on Saturday, Beauregard now has six points over the last three matches.
There are also a few players approaching milestone moments in their Elite league careers, whilst a few reached some in the past week.
The Stars starting goaltender made his 800th save against Coventry and Leclerc now has an overall save percentage of 89.78 per cent.
Also, Beauregard’s four-point evening against the Blaze pushed him past the 25-point mark and he has now collected 27 points (12 goals and 15 assists) from 26 matches.
Meanwhile, the players approaching milestones in Week 14 are; Elgin Pearce, who requires one point for 25 in all competitions this season and Dirk and Maylan both need one point each for 20 on the season.
Whereas, Drydn Dow and Egils Kalns both require two points for 20 in this campaign.
In Week 14, the Stars return to Altrincham for another battle with Manchester Storm on Saturday and the following day Dundee host Belfast Giants for the second time this season.
The Stars will go in search of their first win of the season in Manchester on Saturday night and they also hope to add to their winning record against the Storm this season.
After losing 3-1 in the first match, which was south of the border, Dundee responded with two wins on home ice against Ryan Finnerty’s side, beating them 5-3 and 4-3.
Three Stars’ forwards have beaten the Storm goalie, Matt Ginn, twice already this year and they are Dufour, Kalns and Marquardt.
However, Manchester’s dangerman, Tyson Fawcett has three goals against Dundee this season.
Sunday’s opponents are Belfast Giants and they return to the Dundee Ice Arena, desperate for a win against the Stars after losing three of the first four matches against the Tayside outfit.
The Stars were victorious at home during the cup group phase and have beaten Adam Keefe’s men twice in Northern Ireland, only falling to defeat once and it came in the form of a 7-2 league loss at the SSE Arena.
However, Dundee netminder, Leclerc has tormented the Giants all season long by posting a 65-save win and a 43-save win during both victories across the pond.
The Canadian goaltender now has a total save count of 168 shots (91.8 per cent) from four games against Belfast.
Face off time for Saturday’s road game in Manchester is at 7pm and it’s a 5pm face-off for Sunday’s league tie with Belfast at the DIA. Buy your tickets HERE.