By Kris Smith
Stars travel to the Scottish Capital for the second game in two nights between Dundee and Edinburgh. Dundee claimed a 7-4 home win last night to keep the pressure on the teams above them as the play-off race begins and also to extend the gap between them and the Caps to 17 points.
Edinburgh are now rooted to the bottom of both the league and Gardiner Conference tables. Dundee are now four points clear of Caps in the conference but are still eight points off of second placed Braehead Clan.
Caps took an early two goal lead through Sergei Banashkov and Dylan Anderson but Adam Harding pulled one back for Stars before the end of the first period. Brian Hart and Marc-Olivier Mimar put Dundee 3-2 ahead in the first five minutes of the middle period.
Konstantin Teslyukevich and Banashkov struck eighty seconds apart to give Edinburgh the lead once more. Gabriel Lévesque tied the game before Malcolm Gould put Dundee 5-4 up in the final minute of the second period. A goal from Stadel and an empty-netter from Mimar secured the two points for Stars and extended their winning run to five straight home games.
The dangermen to watch in this evening’s game are Edinburgh’s Mike Cazzola, Pavel Vorobyev and Sergei Banashkov. The three have all combined for 68 points in the Elite League this season. Meanwhile Dundee’s Gabriel Lévesque, Marc-Olivier Mimar and Riley Stadel will be closely watched and tightly marked by the Caps.
Lévesque is Dundee’s top point scorer with 8 goals and 26 assists from 30 league games. Mimar is the second highest point scorer with 6 goals and 17 assists and Stadel is leading the Stars in goals with 9 on the season and is Dundee’s third top point scorer.
Tyler Plews, Patrik Moisio, Callum Boyd, Rihards Grigors, Dillon Lawrence and Callum Robertson were all missing from the Caps line-up as they faced Dundee with just fourteen skaters. Johan Andersson and Chris Lawrence missed out for Dundee through injury.
Talking after last night’s 7-4 victory over Edinburgh, Stars head coach, Omar Pacha, said: “It’s a huge two points, that’s what we wanted, the result was the big thing before the game.
“It was not the prettiest hockey game we have played but it was a big win and nice to get the seven goals but the two points was all we needed.
“The crowd was unbelievable again tonight but we didn’t start well, it was one of our worst first periods. We knew we were at home and we knew we needed the points but we had a good meeting between the first and second and got back on track and tired them out in the second, the third was our best period.
“It is another huge and really important game, tomorrow is as important if not more, there is no excuses we need to pick up where we left off and we have more bodies than them, so if we play good defensively then good things will happen.”
Pacha was impressed with the performance and condition of debutant, Cody Carlson. He added “Cody played great, he is steady at the back and you can just tell he will be a rock back there.”
Ex-Capitals netminder, Travis Fullerton, believes his side need to be more consistent with their performances if they hope to make the post season. He commented: “Obviously looking at the standings, these are all must win games for us.
“We are preparing to play a good Edinburgh team who have some new players in now, we are playing well at home but we have to start picking up points on the road and we need to play the same way every game.
“It won’t be good enough just winning at home if we want to creep up the standings and into the playoffs.”
Tonight’s game at Murrayfield will face-off at 6pm.