PREVIEW: Dundee @ Guildford

By Kris Smith

The Kitmart Dundee Stars are ready to build on a huge victory in Glasgow last night with a similar performance in Surrey this evening.

Dundee were quick to take control against the Clan last night and netted three goals in the first period. Lukas Lundvald, Matt Marquardt on the powerplay and Matt Bissonnette each found the net and Lundvald added another in the second before completing his hat-trick in the third with another powerplay marker. Brendan Connolly scored the home side’s only goal but a strong defensive display as well a fine finishing touch up front, something Omar Pacha has been searching for all year, made it one of the best performances of the season for Stars.

Speaking after the match, Pacha said: “I thought it was a good 60 minutes, guys bought in and played well.

“We practiced a few things over the course of the week and I think we were able to execute a lot and went to the net a lot more and we got rewarded.”

“We got some good scoring and Lukas stepped up and I thought their line was the best all night but I thought everybody played a solid road game and we had good goaltending.

“I like how we blocked a lot of shots, we had active sticks and all in all it was good to only give them one goal and again, we didn’t give up any odd-man rushes or very few, so it was a big positive.”

“So that was good result, however it is already forgotten as tomorrow is the biggest game of the season.”

Those two points close the gap to just one point between Stars and the last playoff place and with Coventry Blaze losing 4-1 to Belfast, they also remain just a single point ahead of Dundee.

Stars will be aiming to carry all that momentum into tonight’s battle with Guildford Flames but having only beaten Paul Dixon’s side once this year, it will be an interesting match-up.

The Tayside outfit’s only win over the Flames, since they joined the Elite League, came at home earlier this campaign. Marquardt’s overtime winner sealed a 2-1 victory at the DIA but Guilford also came to Tayside and took four points thanks to 5-4 and 4-2 score lines.

In Dundee’s only visit to the Spectrum Arena, they lost out in a thrilling 6-5 skirmish that seen the Surrey club nick the points at the death.

Lukas Lundvald picked up five-points in Glasgow last night and is in fine form, as is his line mate, Charles Corcoran who had three assists. The American winger has also notched up six points against the fifth placed Flames this season. Brian Hart and Fabrizio Ricci have also contributed in six goals each against Guildford.

While Dundee were running a full roster last night outwith the long-term injured Bouchard, Guildford’s last match had Travis Fullerton, Jake Stoodley and Kevin Phillips all absent from the line-up in their 2-1 overtime loss to Belfast in the Challenge Cup Final in Cardiff.

Looking ahead to the penultimate fixture with Guildford, captain Johan Andersson said: “We need to just keep training at a good level and try to be positive.

“We need to play a really good road game but the powerplay and penalty kill will be important.”

“We are still very confident of getting back into the playoff spots.”

All three teams battling for the eighth playoff spot are in action on Saturday night, with Dundee in Guildford, Coventry stay put to face the Giants in Belfast again and Manchester Storm are on the road against Nottingham Panthers.

Face-off at the Spectrum Arena is at 6pm.