By Kris Smith
Stars suffered what could be the fatal blow to their playoff hopes after losing their second straight game to Coventry Blaze.
Dundee were running at full-strength for only the second game this season while Marc-Olivier Vallerand and Dorian Peca missed out for Coventry.
There was good chances for both teams early on in the game and Dundee were gifted the best chance after gaining a powerplay as Jordan Pietrius was penalised for cross-checking in the sixth minute.
Blaze killed off the penalty and shortly after picked up their first powerplay of the night as Joey De Concilys was called for interference in the ninth minute. This led to the opener for the home side, which came in the dying seconds of their man advantage. Danick Paquette found the net after beating Travis Fullerton at 10:25.
Stars went back on the powerplay as Vojtech Kloz sat for two minutes on a tripping call in the eleventh minute. Blaze once again killed off the penalty and brought a physical tempo in the first period, plus they were the side with more opportunities after the halfway mark.
However, Dundee finally found a breakthrough at 18:23, as Marc-Olivier Mimar beat Kevin Nastiuk to tie the game. The goal was assisted by Cody Carlson and Gabriel Lévesque. Danny Stewart’s men thought they had regained the lead, but it was wiped off as the home side picked up another penalty, this time in the final minute of the first period.
Stars got the best possible start to the second period as after just seventeen seconds of play, Brian Hart picked out Lukas Lundvald and he fired the road team ahead 2-1 with a powerplay marker. There were more fantastic scoring opportunities for either side, in the thrilling start to the middle stanza but no one could find another goal.
Anthony Mastrodicasa picked up a two-minute hooking call and that gave Coventry a chance to use their powerplay again. Just twelve seconds into their man advantage Pietrius tied the game. Mastrodicasa hit the post as Dundee got forward quickly after the restart but it was Blaze who found the back of the net, as Paquette’s shot deflected off Ryan Dingle and past Fullerton at 31:40.
The home team hit their stride as Adam Courchaine quickly added a fourth to extend their lead to 4-2 at 35:11 before Paquette received a cross-ice pass which he redirected past the Dundee goalie, making it 5-2 at 36:02. Stars captain, Chris Lawrence fanned on a shot and that allowed Dingle and Paquette to break down the ice, but Fullerton made a good save to prevent Blaze running away with the score.
The second period ended and Omar Pacha’s Stars needed something special to revive their playoff hopes. The home team picked up where they left off, some good offensive pressure pinned Dundee in their own zone for the first part of the final period. Brett Robinson picked up a delay of game penalty in the forty-fourth minute and Stars were quick to punish.
Cody Carlson pulled his team back to within two goals after getting his shot past Nastiuk at 45:37. Once again Coventry responded swiftly as Courchaine added his second just seventeen seconds later. Kevin Noble recieved a cross-checking penalty in the fifty-sixth minute and after a timeout Stars swapped their netminder for a 6-on-4 advantage.
However, it did not go as planned and ended with Dingle slotting the puck home into an empty net at 56:30 whilst shorthanded. The final minutes were action-less as both teams fate for the evening was sealed. Danick Paquette and Dundee’s Anthony Mastrodicasa picked up the ‘Man of the Match’ awards.
Stars need to just win their remaining four games and pray for giant mistakes from Braehead and Coventry but as it stands their playoff dream has dwindled.
Photo: Scott Wiggins