By Kris Smith
Dundee hosted their bitter rivals, the Fife Flyers, who had defeated them just a week ago in Edinburgh at the Scottish Elite Cup and Omar Pacha’s men could not afford to fall behind so easily once more.
Dundee had the early chances of the first period, one of which Taylor Dickin fired straight into the chest of Andy Iles, in the Fife goal. The Stars were gifted an early powerplay when Ian Young was penalised for slashing at 2:40, Andy Iles’s shutout only lasted a mere 3 minutes and 53 seconds when Malcolm Gould fired his shot into the twine, on the powerplay, his first goal and first game back since serving a suspension.
Dundee were pounding the Flyers were with pressure, threatening to score a second and that they did, Russ Moyer was charged with an interference penalty by referee Pavel Halas at 4:45. Dundee’s deadly powerplay were back on the ice and it was Chris Lawrence who found the net for Dundee’s second goal, just seven seconds into their second powerplay of the night.
Ten seconds after the restart it was the Stars Swedish duo, Jimmy Jensen and Johan Andersson, combining for a third goal at 5:02 and things got a little feisty as the Flyers were not happy with how things started in the first five minutes.
Charlie Mosey was then called on a tripping minor at 6:04 which put Omar Pacha’s powerplay unit back out, Jimmy Jensen once again delivered after connecting with his fellow countryman Andersson at 6:15 for the third powerplay goal of the night.
Chase Schaber was next to keep the penalty bench warm for the Flyers as was he penalised for slashing at 6:15 and Todd Dutiaume felt it necessary to call a time out to sort out his side and it had an effect to some extent as Jordan Cownie took Stars first penalty at the twelfth minute of play, to give Fife the man advantage. Liam Heelis was found at the backdoor and Travis Fullerton could not make the save, bringing the Flyers back into the game at 12:09 on the powerplay.
Dundee answered back straight away as Riley Stadel ripped a slapshot from the blueline, that no one could stop, as it went straight through everyone and into the goal, to restore the home sides four goal lead, making it 5-1 at 13:10. Dundee were hungry for more as they broke into the zone but failed to make anything happen, Fife then had their turn in the Stars end but Fullerton froze the puck before James Isaacs snowed the Dundee goalie, starting a scuffle which led to some handbags.
The final five minutes of the first stanza were all Stars they unloaded shots left, right and centre but the Flyers eventually broke up the play and Isaacs had a glorious chance to get his team another step closer but fired wide from a few metres out. Dundee regained possession and set-up again in the opposition end, it was almost a sixth goal when Malcolm Gould could not connect with a pass in the left face-off circle.
The period concluded and it was only one a Stars fan could be happy with, Fife needed a new game plan and Dundee had to strengthen theirs.
The second period begun and Fife were straight back under pressure but Iles kept his cool and made a double-save to deny the Stars a five-goal lead, from this the Flyers defence circled the puck and released their forwards who sped down the ice and Carlo Finucci set up Peter LeBlanc who’s shot went straight over the shoulder of Fullerton, reducing the deficit to 5-2 at 23:03.
Fullerton was then forced back into action immediately but had a more favourable outcome as he denied this effort, but to the dismay of Stars fans, Anthony Mastrodicasa was sent to the penalty box for tripping at 23:38, Dundee killed the penalty with ease and even went on a 3-on-1 breakaway but Iles was equal to it. Emerson Hrynyk fires a hard shot into Iles but it spilt out behind him and Jensen almost missed as he poked it onto the post and in at 24:48, shorthanded
Dundee got another breakaway but Iles pulled off the save and a few moments later Fife went back on the powerplay, as Tyler Brickler was called on a tripping minor at 6:04. The penalty kill lines were in control of the puck a majority of the time, thus the penalty expired and just as Dundee went back to full-strength Ian Young’s slapshot was saved by Fullerton. Fife went back on the powerplay when Taylor Dickin was assessed two-minutes for hooking at 29:49.
Once again Stars controlled the play while a man-down and killed the penalty before getting their own powerplay when the visitors were punished for too-many men on the ice and it was served by Josh Scoon at 37:20. Stars looked confident as Hrynyk got a shot away but it was deflected in front of goal and went high into the safety netting. Patrick Lee was next to go close for Dundee but his effort was wide and Jensen’s attempt was gloved.
Fullerton then denied a 1-on-1 effort by the Flyers before Dundee broke down the ice and a shot from Johan Andersson was gloved by the Flyers netminder but he dropped it into his own net, at 39:26 giving the home team a 7-2 lead.
Dundee were establishing dominance but Fife were starting to edge their way back in slowly, the third period brought a stomach churning twist to the bellies of Stars fans.
Fife pulled one goal back to make it 7-3 at 40:57, it was Peter Leblanc who once again had beaten Fullerton after a quick rush by the Flyers. The play went end-to-end and Fife were running the show but a holding call by Halas on Stars defenceman Riley Stadel put the home team under even more pressure.
Dundee were killing the penalty well, once again, Fife finally got set-up in the Dundee end and a quick pad save by the Dundee shot-stopper robbed Peter Leblanc of his hat-trick, a second effort hit Fullerton before dropping underneath him and sliding goalward but Marc-Oliver Mimar was quick to clear it away, however the next effort by Finucci could not be stopped as it beat Fullerton to his right at 45:48, Fife’s second powerplay goal of the evening.
Omar Pacha then used his timeout to devise a plan to see the game out, play resumed and the Flyers attacks were constant and their threat was luring, it was approaching the fifty-minute mark when Chad Smith’s tip from a Ricards Birzinš shot went into the Dundee goal (49:45).
Dundee got the break they needed when Thomas Muir was sent to sit for two-minutes on a hooking minor at 50:17. An off-the-puck play seen Chris Lawrence hit the ice with an injury, no penalty was called but he left the ice struggling to walk under his own power and will be a concern ahead of next week’s fixtures.
Charlie Mosey tried to get Fife back to within one goal but Fullerton denied to keep the score line at 7-5. The puck went from end to end for the last ten minutes and just as time was running out, Todd Dutiaume’s men were given one last chance. Malcolm Gould was deemed guilty of high-sticking at 57:35 giving the Flyers a full two-minute man advantage but they increased it a two-man advantage by removing Andy Iles from between the pipes, for the extra-attacker.
Shots reigned in on Travis Fullerton but he denied them all, things got heated again when Evan Bloodoff was jabbing away underneath Fullerton desperately searching for that goal. With just a minute and a half to go Fullerton covered again after Dundee could not dump the puck into the empty Fife goal. The powerplay expired as did the sixty-minutes and Dundee walked away the victors by seven goals to five.
Peter Leblanc received the Fife ‘Man of the Match’ award for his brace as did Dundee’s Jensen for his hattrick. Omar Pacha and the Stars will be happy to have taken all the points from this crucial group stage match and now turn their focus to their first league game against the Sheffield Steelers on Tuesday evening, face-off is at 7:30pm.