Ice hockey: Dundee Stars head coach Marc LeFebvre hails Cale Tanaka contribution

Dundee Stars celebrate
Dundee Stars celebrate after their Sunday 4-2 win over Manchester Storm put them in seventh position and in the play-off reckoning

Dundee Stars head coach Marc LeFebvre hailed Cale Tanaka as the Tayside outfit gave themselves a chance of reaching the Elite League play-offs.

Tanaka netted three goals over the weekend as Stars went from ninth to seventh.

"Cale's a guy that's played in two consecutive play-off finals with Coventry in the last two years, said LeFebvre, who signed Tanaka last summer.

"I knew what I had when I signed him for them originally."

He added: "Sunday's win was a huge character win after going down 2-0 and managing to find a way to get the points from the game.

"It's massive to get ourselves into the position we're now in, but there's still lots of hockey to play and we're still in a dogfight, which won't end until the regular season finishes in a couple of weeks."

With four games left, Dundee are in a good position to take one of the last play-off spots and could boost their credentials further when they go to Manchester on Saturday.

Their weekend was mixed in terms of results, but there was no disgrace in losing 4-1 to champions elect Cardiff Devils in South Wales on Saturday.

Tanaka cancelled out Mark Richardson's early goal, but Devils kicked on with two from Joey Haddad and one from Josh Batch to flesh out the win.

There was arguably more importance in Sunday's home game as play-off rivals Manchester Storm came looking to follow on from Saturday's win over Edinburgh Capitals.

But after two goals from Paul Phillips and Mark Heatley, Stars soon got into gear as two from Tanaka drew them level.

Kevin Bruijsten gave them the go-ahead goal before Justin Faryna clinched the points that put them above Storm in the table ahead of an even bigger game on Saturday.

As for Storm, they would have been buoyed by the 4-0 victory they inflicted on the Caps on Saturday that helped to stop a seven-game losing run.

For Edinburgh, it was one to forget as Darian Dzuirzynski's hat-trick along with a strike from Mark Heatley saw them shut out in Manchester.

But the Capitals made Fife Flyers work for it when they returned to Murrayfield on Sunday, even though they were edged 5-4 in a thriller.

Sebastian Thinel's opener was cancelled out by Yevgeni Fyodorov, before Fife went 4-1 ahead following goals from Chase Schaber, James Isaacs and Ryan Dingle.

Caps got to within one in the third period as Ian Schultz and Mason Wilgosh struck, but Kyle Haines added Fife's fifth which seemed like enough.

However, Michal Dobron's late finish for the home side set up a nervy finale, but the Flyers were able to hang on and confirm their place in the play-offs in the process.

That result completed a four-point weekend for Todd Dutiaume's side, who got underway with a 4-3 overtime win at Coventry Blaze on Saturday.

Ross Venus' opener was cancelled out by Dingle, who then added his second early in the third period, followed by Carlo Finucci, who made it 3-1.

Blaze hit back through Brett Robinson and Shawn Boutin, taking the game to overtime where Finucci's second clinched victory for the Flyers.

Braehead Clan had only the one game as they hosted Sheffield Steelers on Saturday night, but were edged 3-2 in a tight affair.

Matt Keith opened the scoring, but Steelers turned the game around as John Armstrong and two from Robert Dowd put them in front.

Another from Keith in the third period made life difficult for the visitors, but Sheffield left Glasgow with two points by the end.

Weekend results

Saturday

Braehead Clan 2 Sheffield Steelers 3

Cardiff Devils 4 Dundee Stars 1

Coventry Blaze 4 Fife Flyers 3 (OT)

Manchester Storm 4 Edinburgh Capitals 0

Sunday

Dundee Stars 4 Manchester Storm 2

Edinburgh Capitals 4 Fife Flyers 5

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