By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars secured a valuable two points for their playoff push and snapped a six-game losing streak against Glasgow Clan, with their first win in the Braehead Arena this season.
Dundee were playing with a full import quota while Glasgow were without Michal Gutwald and Craig Peacock.
The first chance of the night went to Dundee in the second minute as Charles Corcoran caught up with a loose puck before sending a shot on target that Joel Rumpel could not hold but the rebound was quickly cleared by the Clan defence.
Glasgow responded with a period of pressure on the Stars defence but they showed no early cracks. Pontus Sjögren came up with a crucial stop in the seventh minute as he went post-to-post to stop Travis Ehrhardt from tapping home a pass at the backdoor.
Jordan Cownie forced a turnover in the neutral zone and the puck was fed to Brian Hart and the American danced through the Glasgow defence before waiting out Rumpel. The Clan goalie managed to stop Hart’s shot with his leg pad and Hart wasted a second opportunity to open the scoring as he sent the rebound straight across the face of goal.
Stars regrouped in their own end before Lundvald fired them into the lead with a high shot past Rumpel from the left circle in the 11th minute. Omar Pacha’s men were looking dangerous as they were finding time and space in the Clan end but were unlucky not to find the twine.
The first penalty went against the home team as captain Zack Fitzgerald was penalised for holding two minutes later. After 14 minutes of play, Dundee doubled their lead as Matt Marquardt finished off a loose rebound during the powerplay. Peter Russell’s Clan controlled possession after the restart but Stars responded with more dangerous attacks.
Corcoran brought the puck forward before squaring a pass to Matt Bissonnette and from the doorstep, he only had to tap it past the down and out Glasgow netminder in the 19th minute.
A perfect period of hockey by Dundee gave them a crucial 3-0 lead to take into the first break and they could not afford to take their foot off their opponents throat in the second period.
Dundee had an early opportunity in the second session to make it 4-0 but Bissonnette could not find the net for a second time, despite having an open wide target to shoot at. The Stars continued a solid display at the back as Glasgow tested again and the Braehead side were given a powerplay that they looked to capitalise on.
However, Mike Sullivan’s minor penalty for interference was cancelled out as Gerard Hanson was boxed for a holding infraction. It continued to get worse for Clan as a missed pass in the offensive zone allowed Dundee’s two Scandinavians to break down the ice.
Lundvald and Swedish captain, Johan Andersson were clean through on the Clan goal and the Dane put the puck in off the post for his second of the night. Sjögren provided another big stop just before the halfway point as he kept out Scott Tanski’s effort on his right post.
The Dundee netminder was then in trouble with the officials as he picked up a two-minute minor for tripping, Cownie served his time and despite Dundee still finding a way forward, Glasgow finally found a way past the Swedish netminder.
Brendan Connolly was lurking in front of the net and turned home a loose puck in the 33rd minute. The next few minutes were not pretty but Dundee got dirty and did the job of clearing up at the back.
Connolly showed some major unsportsmanlike behaviour in the final minutes of the middle period, he firstly wrestled Drydn Dow to the ice before jamming his stick into the fold of Dow’s right leg a few moments later.
However, nothing was picked up by the referees until Connolly attempted it again and that brought a reaction from Dow. Both received minor penalties but that did not stop the Clan’s new approach.
Shortly after, Guillaume Doucet was boxed for hooking leaving Dundee on a four-on-three powerplay. Nothing more would be added to the game sheet before the clock ran out in the second period but 49 seconds of powerplay time awaited Stars in the third.
Russell’s men did not make the start they would have wanted to the third period as Tyson Wilson was called for holding the stick after 23 seconds of play. Stars threatened to increase their lead but Rumpel prevented the deficit increasing.
The Clan managed to kill the penalties without conceding but it did not slow down the waves of Stars attacks. Lundvald set-up Bissonnette for a finish but the Canadian winger sent his shot just wide of the Glasgow goal.
Dundee were back on the penalty kill in the 45th minute as Andersson was boxed for holding his opponents stick. The penalty expired with Stars still 4-1 in front but Andersson could have added a fifth if not for a good save by Rumpel.
However, concern for the Swede aroused as he skated back to the bench carrying his left arm. Although, both teams medical staff were busy as Glasgow’s Wilson took a puck to the face but both players soon returned to the action.
Fitzgerald was deemed guilty of a slashing foul in the 51st minute, giving Stars a huge chance to put the game out of reach. Another penalty was signalled but the home team lost focus and Lundvald was shoved to the ice but no whistle came to the surprise of Clan and the Dane quickly put the puck into the net for his hat-trick.
Despite protest from the Glasgow players, a review of play confirmed Dundee had netted a fifth goal and second powerplay. Fitzgerald was released from the box as Hanson would begin his time for a slashing foul.
The Clan survived another shorthanded scenario but could create nothing to even begin to cut into a large Stars lead. Pacha’s side secured a huge two points in what will be a tough weekend for them but all the signs are positive after that performance.
‘Man of the Match’ awards went to Brendan Connolly and Dundee’s hat-trick hero, Lukas Lundvald, who was involved in every single goal on the night.
Stars are back in action on Saturday evening as they continue their three games in three nights road trip and head south to face the Guildford Flames at the Spectrum Arena.