It’s time for a double header weekend! The Guildford Flames take on their old BNL rivals, the Dundee Stars home & away in what should be a cracking set of league games to kick off October.
Last Season Vs. Dundee:
P 4 W 4 L 0 OTL 0 GF 18 GA 5
Last Game: 21/03/18 Flames 3 – 0 Stars
The Flames completed a clean sweep over the Dundee Stars last season; a team who very much had a season of 2 halves. The Stars were 11th at the half way point, trailing 10th placed MK Lightning by 6 points. They managed to finish above MK in the final standings, but their form in 2018 was the 8th best overall – Better than Edinburgh, MK Lightning, Braehead Clan and even the Coventry Blaze, who snatched the final playoff spot.
As outlined in the September review, the Flames have had a mixed start to the season and need to pick up some points against a very tricky new-look Stars team.
Barring any mid-week injuries, Watters – Reddick – Dunbar will be expected to start the game, but outside of the first line, a huge question mark remains over the rest of the line up, as it has done all season so far. Brett Ferguson should be back, but it’s all dependant on whether he get his visa clearance.
With the departure of Kevin Phillips, Erik Lindhagen will have to pick up defensive duties, and Richard Krogh is likely to see limited ice time again with only 3 full lines. Should Ferguson return, then Flames will still be short benched; the expectation is that Waller would be rotated with Janssen with neither Davies nor Ritt likely to be dropped due to their current form.
The Dundee Stars are looking good so far this season. They may have just 1 win to their name in the league so far (which came against the Belfast Giants), but they have only lost once in regulation time, registering 2 overtime losses (one of which came mid week against the Cardiff Devils) and 2 shootout losses, so this weekend will be tough for the Flames.
#87 Pontus Sjögren
Stars fans feel he was truly robbed of the Netminder of the Week award last week. He’s been arguably the Stars’ best player so far. They say a good goalie gives you a chance to win every night. Sjögren has done everything but score to put the Stars in the position they’re in.
#10 Lukas Lundvald Neilson
Similar to his netminder, if fans around the league aren’t aware of him they will be. It’s no exaggeration to say he’s noticeable every shift. Offensively he makes plays happen like few others and physically he’ll mix it up with the best of them.
#14 Jordan Cownie
Also making a case for Stars’ best player so far this early in the season. A sophomore in the EIHL, his playmaking is genuinely elite at this level. He is making a strong case for a GB call up already in his young career.
#22 Francois Bouchard
Prior to the last game against Cardiff he was riding a 5 game point streak. Similar to what John Dunbar does, he produces somewhat quietly but always sneaks on the score sheet somehow.
#37 Matt Marquardt
Marquardt is enjoying a more prominent role than he may have had with Coventry or Sheffield previously. Although he’s no enforcer, at 6’2 220 he’s imposing enough a figure that he’s rarely messed with. Putting up numbers is also well within his capabilities as he’s been a key point producer so far.
There are a few areas of strength for Dundee this season. The PK and aforementioned goaltending have been excellent which is keeping the Stars competitive against any team in the league.
A large area of concern for the Stars currently is their powerplay units, which have gone 0/6 and 0/7 already this year.
They lack depth in the scoring department and their defence do not jump up to add to the attack as many other defences in the league do, however, with a number of very young pros in these roles this should improve with time.
Saturday 6th October
Venue: Spectrum Leisure Complex, Guildford, GU1 1UP
Box Office: 01483 443 333
Sunday 7th October
Venue: Dundee Ice Arena, 7 Dayton Dr, Dundee DD2 3SQ
Feature image credit – John Uwins Photography