By Kris Smith
Stars are aiming to turn their form around a pick up two points on the road in Manchester, as Pacha visits his old employer and looks to steal some points on the road.
The Kitmart Dundee Stars sit 9th in the Elite League table and they travel to Altrincham to face 7th placed, Manchester Storm. They sit one point clear of Dundee on who are on seven points and each team has played 10 games.
Dundee come into the game off the back of their 5-4 shootout loss in Glasgow that seen them qualify for the next round of the Challenge Cup.
Last weekend seen the Storm clinch a 5-2 win over Coventry Blaze in Manchester before losing out in 5-3 in Coventry. Dallas Ehrhardt, Ciaran Long, Evan Richardson and Riley Stadel all found the net across the two games, as did Luke Moffatt and Rob Linsmayer who bagged a brace each.
Last time they met this season Storm took the win after penalty shots, Dryden Dow provided Dundee’s only goal while Rob Linsmayer had given the visitors a 1-0 lead. Jordan Cownie, Linsmayer, Charlie Corcoran, Stadel, Matt Marquardt, Marcus Basara, François Bouchard and Shawn Boutin all missed their penalties. While Luke Moffatt scored the game-winning-penalty shot to seal the win for Ryan Finnerty’s team.
Finnerty’s side have a few players who have got off to a flying start to their season, Ciaran Long has scored 14 points in 13 games, Moffatt has racked-up 13 from nine games and Dane Byers has in 12 games, scored 13 points.
Stars have three scorers who are also all tied at the top of their scoring table, with Lukas Lundvald on 14 points in 14 games, Marquardt with 14 from 15 games and Bouchard has totalled 14 points from 16 games.
Dundee goalie, Pontus Sjögren has a goals against average of 2.72 and save percentage of .920 from nine league games. Meanwhile, Manchester’s first choice netminder, Matt Ginn has played nine games and recorded a GAA of 2.74, plus a .922 save percentage.
Stars winger, Lundvald is currently on a six-game point streak and has picked up eight points in that time, with two goals and six assists. Defenceman, Drydn Dow also has a point scoring streak of the three games, where he has assisted on four goals.
Félix-Antoine Poulin, Dylan Anderson, Ashley Smith, Duncan Speirs and Lee
Bonner did not feature for Manchester last weekend while Matt Ginn and Adam Barnes were dropped for Sunday’s game as Jindrich Pacl came into the squad. The Tayside club will only be without the injured Matt Bissonnette for this weekend.
Stars head coach Omar Pacha discussed his sides preparations for their test against Manchester, he said: “It has been good, we focused on ourselves and in areas we want to improve.
“Again, we were focusing on a lot of the offensive side, putting pucks to the net, rebounds and quick shots because everything happens so quick in Manchester.”
His side have lost their last seven games but the Canadian is hoping to return to winning ways this weekend.
Omar said: “It is more than vital now that we pick up points and it is important that we realise that we have played some good hockey.
“We are in every single game but every game is just such a challenge that it is going to be hard but we need to start getting the full two points rather than just one point here and there.
“You look at our form in the league, we have seven points out of 10 games, considering everything with the travel, we are not in a bad situation.
“I think we will take it, the frustrating part is not getting more points as of now but it is a good chance for us to get right back in it and steal a game on the road.”
Pacha continued: “It is a smaller rink, so everything happens a bit quicker, I think it is important that we have that shooting mentality that we had installed in the end of the second and third period on Tuesday.
“I think once the guys realise the opponents are just putting the puck to the net rather than passing up shots, then this group is going to realise that it has a lot more potential to score goals.”
When asked if his side were looking for revenge after Storm stole a win in Dundee, he replied: “It has been nine games now, I think that was a game where we deserved better but there were times during that game where we did not capitalise on chances or we did not go to the dirty areas.
“So, it is important against them to do that, it is not an easy place to play, they have some really good forwards, that first line is probably one of the best, if not the best in the league.
“They have some talent so we just need to be prepared for everything.”
Face-off is at 7pm in Altrincham, before Stars host Nottingham Panthers on Sunday at 5pm.