By Kris Smith
Stars came from behind in Glasgow to secure a massive two points and ended a seven-game losing streak.
Michal Gutwald, Tyler Shattock and Craig Peacock all returned from injury to give Braehead a boost going into a massive home game.
Dundee captain Chris Lawrence gave his side the best start possible after he put the puck in the back of the net after just fifty seconds of play. Jimmy Jensen played in Lawrence before he shot the puck low under Braehead goalie, Ryan Nie and into the right side of the goal.
The team from Tayside had a chance to double their lead after Brendan Brooks was sent to the penalty box in the fourth minute for interference. Clan killed off their two-minute penalty before Jacob Doty tipped a shot onto the post, but it bounced away from Travis Fullerton’s goal.
However, Stars early lead did not last long after Adam Brace fired a shot that the Dundee netminder struggled to hold but he could not retrieve it before it crossed the line at 8:56.
The Stars goalie quickly redeemed himself by pulling of three big saves to keep the score level before Lukas Lundvald had a chance at the other end to put Dundee ahead, but Nie made the save.
Braehead’s Craig Cescon was penalised for hooking in the eighteenth minute but the road team failed to utilise the man advantage once more. The first period ended with both teams tied at one a piece but as the middle period begun it was Clan who scored the early goal this time.
Doty’s pass from the right was heading towards goal and Brace came in late before connecting with it a to send it past Fullerton at 21:31, for his second goal of the night.
It took just over five minutes for Omar Pacha’s side to hit back and level the score after Jensen was in the right place to slot it home after a scramble in front of the Clan goal. The Swede netted his fourteenth goal of the season at 26:52.
A huge hit was delivered by Shattock on Pacha and that sparked a fight between the Clan forward and Cody Carlson, a big tilt between the two tough guys fired up both teams and the feistiness continued as Cescon picked up a roughing penalty after some handbags in front of the Dundee net.
The home team killed off their third penalty of the night and went back on the attack. Peacock fired a shot on goal, but Brace redirected it past Fullerton for his hat-trick at 38:04.
Pacha was sent to the box for tripping just a few seconds after the restart and Dundee held off the attacks of the Braehead’s powerplay unit until the end of the second.
When the teams returned to the ice for the third and final regulation period, John Tripp’s side still had fifty-one seconds on powerplay left but Stars killed it off with ease. Three seconds after Pacha left the sinbin, Doty was sent to there for cross-checking, putting Dundee back on the powerplay.
Clan killed off Doty’s two-minute minor plus a delay of game penalty against peacock, to make them five for five on penalty kills that night. Less than a minute after Stars powerplay ended they tied the game up at 3-3. Gabriel Lévesque fired a shot from the point that Marc-Olivier Mimar got a touch on to send it past Nie at 45:59.
A few moments later Mimar was at it again, Brian Hart skated around the net before laying it back to the Canadian who smashed it past the Clan goalie to put Dundee ahead at 51:30. Emerson Hrynyk was charged with Delay of game in the fifty-sixth minute and that gave Braehead their second man advantage of the night, but it was killed off as the game approached the final two minutes.
A timeout was called by Dundee as Pacha laid out his plans for holding the lead. Ryan Nie was pulled with just over a minute left while his counterpart, Fullerton made save after save. Lawrence was called for high-sticks with just twenty-four seconds left, giving Braehead their biggest chance to tie the game.
Stars held on to secure two huge points and their first win in Glasgow this season. Dundee now move just three points behind Braehead and still have two games in hand. However, a 5-4 overtime win for Coventry Blaze keeps them a point ahead of Dundee as they chase the final playoff spot as well, although Stars have played one less game than the English side.
Stars head coach Omar Pacha gave his thoughts on the weekend. He said: “We played pretty well in every aspect of the game except for the powerplay, five-on-five we were the better team and created a lot of scoring chances by using our speed.
“I thought we were keeping it pretty simple in the first period, we dominated most of the play and we gave one up on a really lucky bounce on their first goal.
“In the second period, they came out a bit harder than us and we kept things simple again, we kept with the process of using our speed, making short passes and attacking them in the offensive zone.
“Overall I was satisfied with result and satisfied with how we played five-on-five and I think we still have to work a bit on our powerplay but all in all what we needed yesterday was the two points and we got them.”
Talking about how huge the two points will be in helping the Stars stay in the playoff race, he added: “It was unreal to get them, that just keeps us in the playoff race.
“It is one of those times with ten games left and seven points seems a longer way than three and especially when you consider that if you win your games in and your in front of them (Braehead).
“It was huge to get that win, we are still in the race and the three teams left still have a lot of hockey left to play.
“I know I am happy with the result and being closer to that playoff spot.”
Looking to the next set of games next weekend, he said: “Every game for us is going to be a must win, regardless of who we play and when we play.
“As of now, looking at the standings and everything else we are going to have to win games, Friday against Nottingham, it is no secret we want to go in there with a good mindset and try to get the two points and Sunday will be the same thing.
“We made great progression over the weekend by getting the win in the biggest game where we needed a win, now, we move forward looking ahead to the Panthers on Friday.”
Next weekend Stars travel to Nottingham on Friday night before heading to the Scottish capital on Sunday for their last game against Edinburgh Capitals this year. The day off in between games could be just what Dundee need to boost their chances of taking all four points next weekend.
Photo: Al Goold