By Kris Smith

The Kitmart Dundee Stars ended their winning streak at five games after falling 5-4 to the Coventry Blaze in overtime.

Stars injured trio all missed out on the trip to the West Midlands.

Dundee quickly went shorthanded as a tripping foul by Jordan Kelsall gave the home team a powerplay in the third minute. Stars killed off the minor penalty before taking the lead through Charles Corcoran after six minutes.

The American forward was picked out in the slot by Mike Sullivan and despite his first effort being blocked, Corcoran easily tucked the second shot past Matt Hackett.

Both teams had chances to add more goals to the scoreboard but both netminders were fulfilling their duties before Omar Pacha’s Stars went down to four skaters again. With Shawn Boutin in the sin bin for holding, Ben Lake punished the Scots with a quick shot into the top left corner in 16th minute.

It was then the visitors turn on the powerplay as David Clements was boxed after a late hit in the 18th minute and Dundee would respond with a second goal. Matt Marquardt restored the lead with a hard shot from the right wing that was hit first time after a smooth cross-ice pass from Connor Cox.

A late slashing penalty against Nicolai Bryhnisveen put Dundee back on the man advantage inside the final minute of period one but they would not extend their lead before the efforts break.

The Taysiders could not capitalise on the remaining powerplay time at the start of the second period. Fabrizio Ricci was the next name to be added to the penalty sheet as the Stars forward was deemed guilty of hooking in the 22nd minute.

Following a dominant display by the Blaze, Dundee stood firm to protect their lead and almost extended it but a flashy glove save from Hackett kept out a rocket shot from Drydn Dow.

The penalties continued to come as Kevin Noble committed a tripping foul in the 28th minute to give Stars another chance with the extra skater. However, they failed to punish Coventry before the hosts went back on the powerplay.

Boutin returned to the box for hooking at the halfway mark but this time there would be a goal. Ben Lake bagged his second of the night as he turned in a hard slapshot from Chris Joyaux after 34 minutes.

Danny Stewart’s side quickly took the lead as Lake got on the end of a lofted pass and cut it back to Shawn Pauly. He dragged the puck away from Pontus Sjögren and slid it home on the 37-minute mark.

Dundee immediately went on the attack and pressed for an equaliser. 88 seconds later it, it came. Marquardt drilled a shot at Hackett from the left side and the rebound popped out to the waiting Lukas Lundvald and he shot through two Coventry defenders to tie the game at 3-3.

Brian Hart picked up a late minor penalty for holding with 26 seconds to go in the middle stanza but the teams would go into the final intermission tied.

Pacha’s men made a fantastic start to the third period as Corcoran pressured a Blaze player into a turnover. He skated from behind the Coventry goal around to the front and fired a low shot under Hackett to put Dundee back in the lead just 15 seconds after the restart.

The Taysiders discipline did not improve as Marquardt was called for a slashing infraction in the 43rd minute but their strong defence held off the Blaze for two minutes. Coventry pushed for an equaliser deep into the final minutes of the game but Dundee’s defence continued their impressive display.

Coventry gained their best chance to tie the game in the 56th minute as Ricci headed back to the sin bin for a tripping foul. Stars seen out the powerplay before Stewart went all out in the final minute and swapped his keeper for an extra attacker.

It paid off for the West Midlands side as with only 35 seconds left in the game, Tim Crowder netted the equaliser. Joyaux had fired a shot in that hit the skates of Crowder but the forward quickly controlled the puck and tucked it under Sjögren.

Overtime was required but it did not end well for Stars. Seven seconds in, Marquardt picked up a slashing penalty and 21 seconds later, the Blaze won the game. Justin Hache’s slapshot flew into the bottom right corner of the Dundee goal to claim the extra point for Coventry.

‘Man of the Match’ awards went to Ben Lake and Dundee’s Charles Corcoran. Stars have a full week to prepare for their only fixture of the weekend when Guildford Flames return to Tayside, hoping to avoid a second straight defeat.


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