By Kris Smith
After securing another two points in the Gardiner Conference against Fife on Friday night, Dundee travelled to South Wales to face Cardiff Devils for the final time in the regular season.
Dundee got the first scoring chance of the game as Gabriel Lévesque went clean through the Devils defence but Ben Bowns denied him of the opener. Patrick Asselin redirected a shot wide of the Dundee net from just three feet out.
Cardiff were building the pressure against Dundee and they ramped it up when they got the game’s first powerplay. Riley Stadel sat for two minutes om a cross-checking minor in the second minute.
The best the Welsh side could do was hit the pipes as Dundee killed off the penalty. Cardiff were pretty much parked in Dundee zone for a good few minutes but eventually Stars won back possession in and moved forward. Malcolm Gould tried to create a breakaway but the pass marked for him was cut out by the Devils’ last man,
The Devils regrouped and came down ice with speed and Jake Morissette flicked a backhanded shot into the top corner on the ten-minute mark. Justin Fox tried to answer back immediately but his shot went straight into the chest of Bowns.
Lévesque stole the puck from a Cardiff forward, broke down the ice and passed across to Cardiff-born Adam Harding who lifted his shot over the sprawling Bowns. Dundee needed to be strong at the back as Anthony Mastrodicasa picked up a holding penalty late in the first period.
However, a shot is deflected by Sean Bentivoglio on the doorstep and it slips over the shoulder of Travis Fullerton and the Devils retook the lead at 17:25, on the powerplay. Mastrodicasa was sent back to the penalty box, this time for slashing with fifty-six seconds left in the first stanza.
Cardiff’s powerplay clicked once more as they worked it around well before a shot from the point by Andrew Hotham lit the lamp at 19:24, giving them a 3-1 lead after one period.
The home side opened the second period with a good scoring opportunity but Fullerton sent it out of play. Lévesque received an unsportsman like conduct minor after making complaints to the ref and that put the Tayside team on the penalty kill again.
A scramble in front of the Dundee goal allowed Asselin to jam it home at 21:23, as the Devils picked up their third powerplay goal of the evening. Another melee in front of the Cardiff net seen a redirected shot slip wide of the post.
Stadel put Cardiff back on the powerplay but Layne Ulmer made it a 4-on-4 situation as he was penalised for slashing. Andrew Lord’s men managed to create a 2-on-1 break but the Stars defence did enough to break up the play before Fullerton froze the puck.
Dundee were not getting the chances they needed to get back into the game, eventually after fending off a few waves of attacks from Cardiff they got into their opposition’s end and Harding was unlucky as he tipped a pass goalward but it slipped millimetres past the post.
Cardiff nearly had a fourth as the ex-Star Justin Faryna tried to setup Matt Pope but the puck sprung back out and was cleared. Dundee got their first full powerplay chance as Drew Paris was penalised for interference just after the halfway point.
Dundee failed to take advantage of with their extra man. Tyson Strachan pickpocketed the Stars forwards when they were pinned behind the Cardiff net and he sent it forward to Morissette.
He used his speed to get himself in front of everyone else before shooting through the five-hole of the Dundee netminder, a shorthanded goal at 32:33. The Stars defence cleared the puck off the line twice, both were reviewed by referee Stefan Hogarth and the first shot was deemed to have crossed the line and the clock was rewound by almost two minutes.
Thomas Murdy replaced Bowns between the pipes for Cardiff before the game restarted. Brian Hart had the only real chance in the remaining minutes of the second, he quickly pounced on a rebound but it bounced off the leg pads of Murdy as Omar Pacha’s side trailed 6-1 going into the final break.
Stars backup goalie, Craig Holland, led Dundee out to start the final period and it was not long into his game before the reigning league champions tested out the Scot. He made a few saved but Matt Pope fired a loose puck into the twine from the edge of the crease at 44:59.
Luke Piggott didn’t let Holland settle in before he let a wrist shot go from the slot and it beat ‘Sheepdog’ above his arm, as the South Wales side extended their lead to 8-1. Dundee did not give up and they still wanted to reduce the margin, Stadel drove the puck down the ice and crashed the net, sliding into Murdy.
Some of the Stars players thought the puck was in but it was waived off straight away by referee Hogarth. Stadel then had his pass intercepted but Holland shut the five-hole to deny the Devils.
The puck was sent flying above Murdy’s head after he made the initial save Cardiff defenceman swatted a puck out of mid-air before it could fall into the goal. At the other end Holland made a brilliant pad save to deny the hungry Devils once more but a quick shot hit the bar and deflected down back under Holland.
Originally it was given as a goal but after a review it was waived off and that would be the final action as Dundee were defeated 8-1. Cardiff’s Luke Piggott and the Welsh Star, Adam Harding, were picked as the ‘Man of the Match’ award receptions.
Omar Pacha and his team have a two-day break before they return to action on Boxing Day. They travel to Manchester for the last time this season and hope to rectify their mistakes after blowing a three-goal lead the last time they visited Altrincham.