By Kris Smith
The Stars confirmed their first-place finish on Saturday as they prevailed over the reigning Challenge Cup champions, Belfast Giants and they put themselves on an unmatchable win percentage of 83 per cent to be seeded first after defeating Fife Flyers.
Omar Pacha’s men started off their Group A campaign with a 6-3 win on the road in Glasgow as they beat the Clan in the first of two back-to-back games.
They followed their first victory up with another at home, seeing off Zack Fitzgerald’s side 7-2 at the Dundee Ice Arena.
After playing their opening league game, the Stars were back at home for the first derby of the season but were shutout by the Flyers in a close encounter that ended 2-0 to the visitors.
There next game cup tie came two weeks later as the Stars were in Northern Ireland and they lead the Giants three times before clinching a 4-3 win.
The final pair of games were played last weekend and this time Dundee came back from a goal down three times before taking a lead in the final two minutes and went on to beat Adam Keefe’s team 4-3 once again.
Last Sunday, the Stars exacted their revenge over their biggest rivals by winning 4-3 in Kirkcaldy and putting their biggest rivals at risk of elimination from the competition.
Colton Kroeker scored Dundee’s third and fourth goals against Belfast last Saturday and they proved to be the pivotal goals that clinched the top spot for the Stars.
Speaking about the match that will go down in Stars history, Kroeker said: “It was awesome, we played a really good game against Belfast and it is pretty unreal to be sitting in first place.
“Now we get to pick who we want to play but last weekend was a lot of fun.”
Describing his goals against the Giants and how it felt to be the player that scored them, the 22-year old added: “It felt good to contribute and it was a great play by my teammates and a really good pass from Boots (Shawn Boutin).
“Then the second goal, I just went to the net and got a tip on it and the rest is history.”
Winning Group A and beating three good teams has been a major confidence booster for the Dundee squad according to Kroeker.
“I think we have a lot of confidence in this group and a lot of skill, we feel like we can play with anyone and I think we have already proved that but we are starting to get better at having more consistency throughout our game”, said Colton.
With the other teams still to complete the group stage phase, Kroeker said that the Stars can now put the cup to the back of their minds and focus on their league campaign for the time being.
He added: “We are excited to keep progressing in the cup, although I don’t know when the next round is because we try not to get too ahead of ourselves and we are just focusing on the league games right now.
“They are important because we need to get going in the league but the Challenge Cup is still very important and we are looking forward to see who we will play.”
Below you can read the summary of Dundee’s Group A games.
Glasgow Clan 3 Dundee Stars 6
Goals: Anthony Beauregard, Drydn Dow, Brett Stovin, Kevin Dufour, Elgin Pearce and Matt Marquardt.
Dundee Stars 7 Glasgow Clan 2
Goals: Anthony Beauregard x2, Elgin Pearce x2, Duncan Speirs, Reilly O’Connor and Kevin Dufour.
Dundee Stars 0 Fife Flyers 2
Belfast Giants 3 Dundee Stars 4
Goals: Kevin Dufour x2 and Anthony Beauregard x2.
Dundee Stars 4 Belfast Giants 3
Goals: Kevin Dufour, Duncan Speirs and Colton Kroeker x2.
Fife Flyers 3 Dundee Stars 4
Goals: Matt Marquardt, Kevin Dufour x2 and Drydn Dow.
Challenge Cup Stats:
Top Scorer: Kevin Dufour (7)
Most Assists: Egils Kalns (6) and Shawn Boutin (6)
Most Points: Kevin Dufour (10)
Goaltenders – Alex Leclerc
Games Played: 6
Save Percentage: 93.52
Goals Against Average: 2.51