By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars continue their search for their first win of 2019 with a trip to Glasgow Clan on Saturday.
Stars are aiming to responded from a pair of disappointing losses during the week, where they were beaten 4-1 by Glasgow Clan on Wednesday before losing in overtime to Milton Keynes Lightning on Thursday.
Goals from Glasgow’s Matthew Haywood and Brendan Connolly had left Stars down 2-0 after the first period and a goalless middle session kept Glasgow in the lead. A third period brace from Matt Beca made it 4-0 but Dundee’s Brian Hart nicked a goal back for Stars in the final two minutes to deny Joel Rumpel of a shutout.
Dundee were desperate for a response the following night against Milton Keynes and they got off to a good start as Fabrizio Ricci put them ahead in the first period. However, an instant response from the Lightning tied the game before they grabbed a second goal prior to the first break.
Stars drew level through Mike Sullivan in the middle stanza before the visitors restored their lead. Despite a third period equaliser from François Bouchard, Omar Pacha’s men could not find a way to win the game and halfway through overtime, conceded the game-winning-goal.
The Tayside team have won just one of the four meetings this season. The Braehead outfit lost the first game in Dundee but won two matches back-to-back via penalty shootouts.
Peter Russell’s Clan side had no injury concerns when they visited Dundee on Wednesday but Stars were without starting netminder Pontus Sjögren and defenceman Shawn Boutin on Thursday. Winger Matt Bissonnette had missed the tie with Glasgow but returned to the lien-up against Milton Keynes.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s fixture in Glasgow, Stars head coach, Omar Pacha said: “We have to be better defensively and we have to be committed.
“Offensively, I think we need to keep going to the dirty areas and keep stopping at the net and good things will happen.
“Against MK we had 52 shots, so we just have to make sure we finish our chances.”
Reflecting on last week’s games against Glasgow and the Lightning, Dundee defenceman, Connor Cox said: “I thought we didn’t play our best game against Glasgow but against Milton Keynes we came out a lot stronger.
“We had a lot of opportunities we just didn’t bury and if we want to win this league we have to go to those hard areas and put pucks in the net.
“Luckily enough we have another match-up against Glasgow coming up which is a big rivalry game and it is huge for the standings and everybody will be ready to go for that.”
With only two days to prepare for their next game against the Clan, Cox added: “We have to be ready to go right from the start.
“A number of times this year we have given up early goals, so we need to try and get away from that.
“We have to get early pressure on them, stick to our game plan and we have to push the pace.
“We can’t dictate the play based on how they are playing but instead we have to carry the pace and play our game, make them play the way we want to.
“We look at every game and Pach does a good job giving us all the information we need to be successful.
“It is just a matter of buying into the system, executing on our game plan and making sure we go to those hard areas and do all the small things right and not try to do anything individually.”
Face-off is at 7pm on Saturday at the Braehead Arena.