By Kris Smith
Stars were again disappointed after taking another team all the way to penalty shots in what was a close encounter with their Scottish rivals.
The Kitmart Dundee Stars continued to play without the injured Matt Bissonnette and their opposition Glasgow Clan travelled without their injured captain, Zack Fitzgerald.
It was a frantic start at DIA with chances at either end. Josh Gratton and Matt Beca exchanged passes before Beca was denied by the post after a late pass across the Dundee crease. Meanwhile, a snapped stick ruined a chance for Brian Hart. Clan built good pressure but it was ended after a deflected shot was quickly caught by Pontus Sjögren. Gratton fired a good pass into Brendan Connolly but the Clan forward deflected the pass wide of goal inside the sixth minute. Lukas Lundvald faked a slapshot and passed the puck to the waiting Hart but he could not beat Rumpel from the doorstep.
Stars almost opened the scoring when Charles Corcoran tried to latch to a breakaway pass but the Glasgow goalie cleared the danger. Dundee’s Johan Andersson found some room in the slot but his shot was gloved before the first penalty was called against Matt Stan Stanisz for hooking in the 11th minute, leaving Dundee on the man advantage.
Some good pressure by the home side came to nothing before the powerplay expired. However, Omar Pacha’s men were back on the man advanatge in the 14th minute when Connolly blocked the path of Fabrizio Ricci and was boxed for interference. Once again Clan killed and they were almost clean through on goal, if not for the intervention by Dundee defenceman, Kris Inglis. His block prevented a dangerous shot hitting the target before the danger was cleared.
In the final minutes of the first period, Hart fed a pass to Andersson but the Swede was disposed before getting his shot off and leaving the game as it started, tied at 0-0.
A hooking penalty in the 23rd minute against Dundee’s Shawn Boutin gave Clan their first powerplay. Sjögren made a huge stop on Gratton by using his leg pad but the rebound was poked home by Connolly in the 24th, the goal was given despite protest from Dundee and an official review.
Stars were pressing hard and levelled the game quickly with a goal in the 26th minute, the puck was skated into the Clan crease by Andersson who quickly lifted it past Rumpel. Immediately the Stars were back on the attack and a bullet from Ricci found the top corner as Dundee quickly took control of the game in the 27th minute.
Pete Russell called a timeout to refocus his Clan side but they found themselves back on the penalty kill when Scott Pitt was penalised for slashing 15 seconds after the goal. Dundee applied good pressure but Russell’s men did well to hold off the Tayside team.
Cownie performed an excellent move around a Glasgow defender but could not jam it past Rumpel, as Stars continued to attack the Clan goal.
Vaclav Stupka was denied twice on the breakaway by Sjögren as he made two magnificent stops, including one with the toe of his pad. A tripping call against Connolly left Stars on the powerplay but again with the man advantage they failed to capitalise. Another majestic save from the Stars stopper kept the Clan out before Lundvald wiped out Connolly.
The Dane sat for two minutes on a tripping call in the 36th minute. Stars killed the penalty well and just after it finished, Lundvald returned to the ice and gained possession, he then picked out Mike Sullivan who was sitting high. Sullivan’s shot was stopped before Rumpel made a diving save to keep out Lundvald’s attempt on the rebound. The second stanza concluded with a dominant Dundee side leading 2-1.
Glasgow made a good start to the third period and it did not take long before they were on the attack, Beca’s shot was saved before Connolly roofed the loose rebound into the Dundee net to tie it after just 75 seconds of play in the third stanza. Stars began to push for the go-ahead-goal and they almost got it when, François Bouchard released a hard shot that Rumpel deflected into the air but it dropped onto the goal line behind him and was quickly cleared away.
Andersson sat in the penalty box for hooking in the 47th minute but Pacha’s men stood strong to fend them off. Bouchard undressed the Clan defenceman with some skilful moves before Marquardt was denied from the opposite side. Lundvald switched a pass across to Drydn Dow who arriving late behind the play but his quick wrist shot was off target. Despite chances at either end, neither side could find the game winning goal in regulation.
Corcoran had the first chance in the extra period but he went straight across the face of goal but could not get his shot away after he had the goalie down and out. Marquardt was then denied on the break before Cownie shot was saved and Glasgow broke down the ice but Connolly seen his effort stopped by the blocker of Sjögren.
Hart made a great effort to keep possession of the puck in the Glasgow end but could not get a strong shot away as the Clan keeper held on for a whistle. In the final minute of overtime, Stupka was stopped by a diving Sjögren who slid along the ice and forced the Clan forward’s shot onto the post.
Penalty shots were required to decide the winner and Stars shootout fortunes would not change as Hart was denied on the first shot by Rumpel before Pitt beat Sjögren with a delayed finish.
Lundvald took Stars second shot but was unable to squeeze the puck through the five-hole of the Clan goalie. Rasmus Bjerrum stepped out to take Glasgow’s next penalty and he was able to slide the puck between the legs of the Dundee netminder.
Marquardt had to score for Dundee but was denied by the post and with the chance to win the game, Connolly made no mistake and finished high into the net.
Matt Beca and Dundee’s Pontus Sjögren were given the ‘Man of the Matches’ awards. Both sides meet again in Braehead on Tuesday for the final match in Group B of the Challenge Cup, which this weekend seen Stars seal their qualification for the next round.
Speaking after the match, Stars head coach Omar Pacha said: “Well there were positives again, I think in the second period we allowed too many chances, even if we had the lead.
“We conceded a lot of chances but we were fine and then we make a turnover at the blue and they come back.
“We did not pick up a guy in front and they score, after that it was trading chances, left, right and centre.
“There was two good goalies tonight and we just have to find the net.”