By Kris Smith
Stars were handed a second straight defeat as being short of bodies cost them against two of the top three teams in the Elite League
Connor Cox, Lukas Lundvald and Matt Bissonnette were missing for Stars as they played their second game of the weekend with just five defender and Dundonian, Craig Garrigan stepped in to fill the gap in the forward lines. Panthers were without six players from their roster as Joseph Hazeldine, Sam Gospel, Jon Rheault and Kevin Henderson were unavailable. Alexandre Bolduc and Marek Tvrdon were also scratches after playing on Saturday night.
Referee Steve Brown quickly stamped his authority on the game by calling a slashing penalty against Dundee forward, Matt Marquardt just seven seconds into the game. Brett Perlini was next to head to the sin bin for an interference penalty as Brown continued his no-nonsense approach inside the opening two minutes.
Dundee did well to see out their shorthanded stint and had the better of the opportunities on the powerplay after quickly setting up in the Panthers end. However, they could not open the scoring before Perlini was released and moments later, the Canadian was denied by the head of Dundee goaltender, Pontus Sjögren after receiving a cut back to the middle of the slot.
Nottingham opened the scoring through Dylan Richard after he redirected Guillaume Lepine’s shot past Sjögren in the eighth minute. Although Stars responded well and had a few good chances to draw level, the best came from Jordan Cownie but his first effort was blocked by Dylan Olsen before his second was deflected.
A quick break by Stars in the final minutes of the first period almost seen them equalise. Cownie, François Bouchard and Charles Corcoran combined but after Michael Garnett made one stop, he came up with another to keep out Bouchard’s shot. With 27 seconds left on the clock, Tim Billingsley doubled the visitor’s lead. Billingsley received a pass right in front of the Dundee goal and slid it under Sjögren before he could get down to make the save. Stars needed a big response in the second period.
Both teams had chances in the first half of the period but there were no real scoring opportunities until Fabrizio Ricci broke through into the Panthers zone but his shot was tipped wide by the top of Garnett’s glove.
Dundee had a second chance on the powerplay asRobert Lachowicz was penalised for slashing in the 30thminute. Defenceman Mike Sullivan rattled his shot off the Nottingham post early into the powerplay but that was as close as they came to scoring. Nottingham’s Stephen Lee left the ice for some treatment in the locker room during the 32nd minute.
Inside the 33rdminute, Alex Guptill was caught with his stick in a dangerous position and that left Rich Chernomaz’s men a man short again. With seconds left on the powerplay, Panthers iced the puck and Sjögren readied himself to play it but the puck bounced over his stick and luckily for Stars wide of their goal.
It was almost 3-0 to the away team as a goalmouth scramble occurred in front of Sjögren. One shot eventually got past the Swede but it was quickly batted off the line by a Dundee player and after a quick review by the referees it remained 2-0 to the Nottinghamshire outfit.
The third period began with Stars jumping straight on the attack but Panthers continued to frustrate the Tayside team. Dundee were struggling to grab control of the game but just after the mid-way point they had some chances to get off the mark but the Nottingham goalie continue to stonewall the Stars.
Just as Dundee slowly began to dictate the play, Bouchard forced Garnett into the splits to make a glove save and keep his clean sheet intact. Nottingham went 3-0 ahead when Luke Pither popped his shot over the shoulder of Sjögren in the 54thminute.
Guptill was almost through on the Stars goal but the chance was taken away from him by defenceman Drydn Dow inside final minutes. Time ran out before Dundee could beat Garnett and that left them pointless for the first time in five weeks. ‘Man of the Match’ awards went to Michael Garnett and Dundee’s Kris Inglis.
Omar Pacha must now prepare his side for another double header derby with their biggest rivals, Fife Flyers. Dundee play host on Boxing day before heading to Kirkcaldy on Thursday.