By Kris Smith
Stars welcome the fourth placed Sheffield Steelers this Wednesday as they look to continue their good form against the league’s tops sides.
Dundee have had some success against the top five sides in the Elite League beating three of them in the last three weeks. However they have fallen to conference rivals Braehead Clan and Edinburgh Capitals in their few games. A promising start by Dundee in both games gave them the chance to continue their dominance but certain circumstances in each game cost them dearly.
This is the fourth and final league match between the Stars and Steelers as both teams have met twice in Yorkshire and once in Dundee. The Steelers claimed two 8-2 victories at Ice Sheffield and Paul Thompson’s men made it three wins for three after a 5-2 win in Dundee.
Sheffield have scored 21 goals against Dundee and conceded just six with the Tayside teams’ goals coming from; Jimmy Jensen, Joey De Concilys, Brian Hart, Taylor Dickin and a brace from Malcolm Gould. Sheffield do not lack players with scoring ability as 17 different players all found the net in their victories, Robert Dowd, Ben O’Connor and Mathieu Roy have all featured numerous times on the scoresheets against Stars.
Both goaltenders have been crucial in determining the score lines as some of Travis Fullerton’s magnificent saves were keeping the scores from getting any larger. Meanwhile Ervins Mustukovs made sure that Dundee did not pull too many goals back. Brad Day, the Sheffield backup has had played over a half a game against the Stars conceding just once from 20 shots.
The Steelers have already hounded the Dundee net with over 130 shots but Dundee can break the 100 mark if they get 25 shots on Mustukovs. Each team has had 9 powerplays in the games with the Yorkshire side netting 5 times and Stars have a pair on the man advantage.
As Dundee come into the game on a three-game losing streak Sheffield have had quite a successful month after advancing to the finals of the Continental Cup. They have only played four league matches this month with victories over Coventry and Dundee that healed the pain of big losses to Cardiff and Milton Keynes.
Speaking to the Elite League this week, Stars assistant captain Johan Andersson said:
“Consistency has been an issue for us and it’s something we have to look at. We work hard in every game, but fail in the small details.
“I’m sure we will improve and I still have confidence in our team. We’ve had injuries for much of the season and you can always look for excuses.
“We play Sheffield on Wednesday and they’ve beaten us heavily twice so far. But I don’t see why we can’t turn it around in that game.
“They are the one of the top teams and of course, we have a chance to win. It’s hockey and anything can happen.”
Dundee’s head coach Omar Pacha is looking for bounce back performance against the Steelers to get his side back to winning ways.
It’s a 7:30pm face-off at Dundee Ice Arena and tickets are still available from the DIA box office (01382 431900) and online.