Giants Preview

By Kris Smith

Stars are aiming to extend their winning run by avenging last week’s result against the Giants with a fifth straight league win.

The Kitmart Dundee Stars take-on Belfast Giants this Wednesday in Elite League action as they aim to make it five league games unbeaten. Belfast were 8-0 victors in Dundee last Wednesday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final first leg.

Omar Pacha’s men responded with a 4-2 victory against Coventry Blaze on Saturday night at home before stealing the extra point in Cardiff on Sunday after beating the Devils 3-2 in a shootout.

Dundee have won just one of six meetings this year with the Giants and Adam Keefe’s side have netted 27 goals against Stars this year, while the Tayside club have scored on just 12 occasions.

The Northern Irish side were defeated 4-2 on Sunday night by Sheffield Steelers, ending their 10-game winning streak. Francis Beauvillier and Blair Riley put up two goals in the final 25 minutes but they were already 4-0 down and could not recover.

In the last match David Rutherford and Kyle Baun each hit a brace, while Jonathan Ferland, Lewis Hook, Hunter Bishop and Jim Vandermeer scored a single goal each.

Colin Shields, Andrew Dickson and Matt Towe missed all three of Belfast’s game last week while, Patrick Dwyer missed out on the weekend trip to Sheffield. Jordan Kelsall was the only player missing from the Dundee line-up last weekend but they could be at full-strength for the mid-week clash as the forward will be evaluated before Wednesday’s game.

Looking ahead to this week’s three home games that begins with Belfast, Stars head coach Pacha said: “It is great to have an opportunity to stay at home but looking at the standings it will be tough.

“We play Belfast who are top of the league then Milton Keynes, who are playing a lot better and Sheffield who are one of the hottest teams in the league as well.

“It does not come any easier, everybody knows the standard of the league this year so it is really hard but like I said, we just have to go game by game and prepare the best we can.

“I think in the last four wins, the guys have known what they had to do to be successful and that is play well defensively and keep crashing that net.”

The Canadian knows what his side have to do to keep their fine form going, Pacha added: “We know we have to pounce on teams’ mistakes and play a strong structured game and that will give us a chance to win hockey games.

“Against Fife last week and then Coventry and Cardiff it has been tight games but it is good to see that we are on the other side of those tight games.”

“I know the guys will obviously be excited to play on tv too and the fact that we won four league games in a row, I think that will give them that energy they need.

“They know we have a great opportunity to keep this run going, especially at home.

“So, whatever happened in the past against Belfast or any other team is almost irrelevant, you just have to come prepared to play on Wednesday.”

Face-off for tonight’s game is 7:30pm.