PREVIEW: Stars v Storm

By Kris Smith

The Kitmart Dundee Stars in need of a win against Manchester Storm on Sunday night and they also want to continue their strong home form.

After going down 4-1 to the Nottingham Panthers last night, Dundee are aiming to bounce-back with a much-needed win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Stars found themselves 2-0 down after the first twenty minutes but it could have been a different story if they did not have a goal disallowed straight after Nottingham netted their second. Two more goals for Panthers in the middle frame gave them a 4-0 lead going into the third. Matt Marquardt tried to spark a fire in his teammates by dropping the gloves with Tim Billingsley at the start of the third. However, nothing would come until late in the game as Brian Hart’s strike with three minutes to play, robbed Patrick Munson of a shutout.

Manchester did not play Saturday night but lost in their last outing. The eighth placed team in the league were beaten 5-2 in the Northern Irish capital, the day after they had beaten Dundee 4-2 at home.

Only one point separates the Storm and Stars but the Tayside team have a game in hand and that will be pivotal in deciding their play-off fate. Even with home advantage, Dundee may not have the mental edge over the Altrincham side after losing twice in last two weeks to Storm.

Connor Cox made his return to active duty last night in Nottinghamshire, leaving just François Bouchard on the injured reserve. Liam Morris, Bobby Chamberlin, Adam Long, Duncan Speirs, Sam Zajac, Chris Auger and Lee Bonner were all absent for Manchester’s trip to Belfast.

Winter signing, Oliver Paczkowski has taken well to his new job and is loving life in the city of discovery.

He said: “I am really enjoying it, the atmosphere, my teammates, the fans, people are just amazing here!

“I feel this league could bring me to another level of competitiveness.” 

The Canadian born Pole is confident Stars can continue their good home form.

Oliver added: “We can overcome not just Manchester but every single team in the league.

“We need to play simple hockey and not over complicate ourselves by playing the right way, by focusing on little stuff and small details that win games.

“Small mistakes cost you a lot and this is why we lose games, especially when we take too much penalties.

“We have a really good goalkeeper, Pontus is very good but he can’t do the job by himself.

“We need to stay disciplined, focussed and play not only one or two periods of hockey but the whole game.” 

As the regular season nears its conclusion, the 24-year old stressed the importance of having a hunger to win.

Paczkowski said: “At this point we need to win not just the home games but every single game.

“We need the whole team to be at their very best, every single game to win hockey games.

“We need to play like it will be the final of Stanley Cup, game 7, we need to have this mind set and if we do, I am 100 per cent sure we will win.

“We can’t be sheep, if we are then we will be eaten by lions, we need to be hungry like lions who haven’t eaten meat for days and if we don’t eat, we will die!” 

Face-off for Sunday’s match is at 5pm.