Blaze Preview

By Kris Smith

Stars second game of this weekend is at home to Coventry Blaze, who are also right in the mix for the final playoff spot.

Coming into the weekend they lead Stars by a single point in the league table but have played two more games than Dundee. However, following last night’s huge 4-1 win over Fife Flyers, Stars have moved up into ninth place and closed the gap between them and Braehead to just one point.

Riley Stadel played his first game last night after nearly two months out injured and collected an assist on Dundee’s first goal, which was scored by Anthony Mastrodicasa. Jimmy Jensen’s powerplay goal put Stars ahead in the second period before goals from Gabriel Lévesque and Malcolm Gould in the final period sealed the win.

Both the previous games between the sides have gone to overtime with each side winning one game on the road. A Riley Stadel hat-trick gave Stars the win in Coventry, but it was a double-header with the Blaze and they stole the extra point the following night at the DIA.

Gabriel Lévesque provided Stars only goal of the night. While Garrett Ladd, Ross Venus, Vojtech Kloz and Adam Courchaine have scored the four goals for Coventry in the two games this season. Blaze netminder, Kevin Nastiuk has stopped 62 of the 66 shots he has faced from Dundee.

There are no known injuries amongst the Coventry squad but Danick Paquette was suspended for three games by the Elite Leagues Department of Player Safety. The Canadian is yet to play against Dundee this season and this suspension has made him unavailable for the two remaining fixtures against Stars.

Dundee forward, Brian Hart says that the team has really “stepped up” as they edge their way back into the playoff race. He said: “Every game feels like a playoff game for us right now, so the team is looking at this weekend as the biggest weekend of the year. Our goal from the beginning of the year has been to make playoffs and win a championship so this weekend against another team that are close to us in standings is crucial.

“After a tough skid in the end of February the team has really stepped up collectively.

“We have had a lot of guys who usually don’t get credit but they have also stepped up and they play critical roles that are helping us get back into the playoff hunt.”

Hart also believes this meeting with Coventry will “feel completely different” as it has been over four months since both teams have met. He added: “It’s been a long time since we last played each other and both teams will look and feel completely different.

“I expect Coventry will bring everything they’ve got and we need to use the home ice to our advantage.

“Coventry have some players who can really skate, so I expect the game to be played fast and with a high energy.”

Face-off is at 7pm and the ‘Kids for a Quid’ deal is back.