Flames Preview

By Kris Smith

Stars host the Flames for their second match in as many nights, with Omar Pacha’s side looking for revenge.

The Kitmart Dundee Stars put on a valiant comeback in the third period last night but were sunk 6-5 in Surrey.

Mike Sullivan got Stars on the board late in second period when they were 4-0 down, this sparked the third period fightback. Two goals from Fabrizio Ricci and once each from Lukas Lundvald and Brian Hart made it a thrilling encounter as the Flames were pushed all the way in what had looked like a comfortable home victory for Paul Dixon’s side.

The Flames’ scorers were Evan Ritt, Jordan Abt, John Dunbar, Kruise Reddick and a double from Ian Watters. Pontus Sjögren was ejected from the game last night after showing unsportsmanlike behaviour after Guildford’s sixth goal, it is not known if he will face any supplementary discipline before the match on Sunday.

Despite conceding six goals in Surrey last night, the highest yet this season, Stars also hit five goals for the second time this campaign and the clinical touch could be present.

Defenceman, Mike Sullivan believes the first goal is crucial if Stars are going to return to winning ways.

He said: “I think the key is to have a strong start, the last few weeks we have had a slower start than we would have liked to have.

“Getting the first goal will be huge, along with continuing to have strong special teams.

“We have generally had strong third periods, and we would like to continue that heading into the weekend.

“I firmly believe that when you play the game the right way, the results will follow.

“We have been playing great hockey all season, the results have not always been there but every guy in the locker room knows that if we continue to play a strong game for 60 minutes, we will come out on top in plenty of games both home and away.”

Stars recently lost their 100 per cent penalty kill record but still receive praise from around the league for their strong defensive play.

Talking about their strong penalty killing unit, Mike added: “Our best penalty killer has been Pontus.

“He has been fantastic all season, and when he is making game changing saves, I think the mindset of all the penalty killers change.

“We want to return the favour and block every shot possible to make his job easier.

“I am very happy with how the defensive game and the PK is going both personally and collectively.

“However, everyone knows that we have room to improve and we can collectively turn into a top defensive team in this league.”

In form forward Fabrizio Ricci also believes that Stars can return to winning ways in front of the fans at the DIA.

He said: “I think we can get back to the winning ways.

“We have been playing great hockey as a group, both physically and structurally, the compete level is very high, which is what you need to maintain during these close games.

“A few bad bounces unfortunately have costed us but it’s never easy for teams to come to Dundee and play in the DIA.

“We have a great group of fans which contribute greatly to having an advantage at home.

“On Sunday I just think we have to keep doing what we are doing as a team.

“We have shown that we can compete right alongside some of the best clubs in the league, and Cardiff was a great example of that in the last game, having won the league two years in a row.

“We keep the momentum going forward, and we will have success.”

Dundee’s scoring touch has come and gone this season with different players peaking at different points but Ricci is certain the team will find their rhythm.

He added: “We would like to be having some more success offensively to give us better chances of winning, but I am confident, both myself individually and as a team we will hit our stride.

“We have had and will keep creating many chances game in and out for us to score.

“Which is crucial, it’s important we do not dwell on past games but to keep the momentum swinging forward and when we do, we will begin to capitalise more on our chances and be dangerous offensively.”

Puck-drop is at 5pm with tickets still available from the DIA box office and online.