Opponent Preview: 2017/18 Dundee Stars
On Saturday, the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze welcome the Dundee Stars to the Skydome Arena for the first time this season. Blaze TV's Ed Kimberley gives us a run down of some of the players to watch out for:
The script for the Dundee Stars changed somewhat over the summer. At the end of June, Coach Marc LeFebvre announced he was leaving the club and joining the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, leaving the Dundee Stars in a pickle. They had some of their roster built but were now rudderless. Enter Omar Pacha. Announced hours after the departure of the ex-Blaze coach. Pacha, who was left looking for work after Ryan Finnerty replaced him in Manchester, was a ‘no brainer’ for the vacated Stars role. He first came to the EIHL with the now defunct Hull Stingrays and in their final season as a club, led the league minnows to a semi-final appearance in the playoffs. With a reputation of getting the best out of teams in tough situations, Pacha led Manchester from day 1 with a rag-tag bunch that went from strength to strength in EIHL, making their first playoff appearance last season. In the league this season, Dundee have struggled, winning just once in 6 games, picking up an extra point in a shootout. However, the Stars have only played 1 conference game. In the cup, they have fared much better with a 50% winning record.
Dundee’s current top points scorer is Swedish forward Johan Andersson who is 0+5 in 6 league games but is 2+5 in 6 cup cames. Andersson comes to the Scots via France where he avoided relegation with Dijon last season. He shared ice at the Ligue Magnus side with fellow Star (and Swede) Jimmy Jensen. Andersson’s career in Sweden was relatively successful, he earned promotion to the SHL with Sodertalje in 07/08 and amassed 260 Allsvenskan games with a .5 PPG average. To accompany his time in the Swedish 2nd tier, Andersson also played 56 games in the top tier scoring 11 goals with 9 assists. This will be his 3rd season outside Sweden, having also played 22 games in Rugstad in Denmark.
Jimmy Jensen, the other Swede to lace up for the Dundee Stars and has also had a good impact for the Scottish side. He has 4 goals, 1 assist in 5 cup games and is 2+2 in the league competition so far. Despite his early career looking bright representing Sweden at under 16, 17, 18 and 19’s, he has only managed 2 SHL games with Djurgardens, his junior club. He made a move to join Huddinge of the Allsvenskan but a poor season for the Stockholm based side saw them relegated. Jensen was to stay in Division 1 for a further 5 seasons (3 more with Huddinge) before leaving Sweden for France. In his first season, 2013/14 with Briancon, Jensen was crowned a French Champion and would stay a further season representing the side in the CHL. Last season in Dijon was Jimmy’s 4th in France and saw him lead the team in goals with 19.
Stadel is a Star
One of the most curious signings of the summer was when the Dundee Stars signed young defenceman Riley Stadel out of the WHL. Having no professional experience, the Stars were showing great faith in the 5’10, 185lb native of Surrey BC. Coming to the EIHL via college is becoming common these days particularly with the Gardiner conference teams but players coming straight out of Junior is a rarity. Stadel however has a good junior record. He was a WHL champion in 2014/15 with Kelowna. His cousin is Ryan Johansen who plays with Nashville in the NHL. So far he is doing well in Dundee, he has 2 goals 3 assists in the Cup and is 0+2 in the league.
Capture of Fox
With the continued absense of club Captain and ex-Blaze forward Chris Lawrence, Pacha has secured the services of Canadian forward Justin Fox, formerly of Fife Flyers. Over two season's the 30-year-old proved almost a point-per-game player in the EIHL with 100 in 105 league and playoff games for the Kirkcaldy based side. This weekend will see him make his debut, and he's likely to prove an important signing for the Stars of Dundee.
Tickets vs. Dundee (7pm Skydome Arena)
No queing, guaranteed seat - show ticket on your mobile device – no need to print!
or call/visit the Skydome Arena box office in person - 02476 630693.
The box office is open from 9am every day and you can also pay on the door when you arrive, however it is recommended that you book online to save queing.
Stars fans, please book tickets in block 6.