By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars made it five wins in a row after an excellent defensive display helped them to a 3-1 win over Manchester Storm on Saturday.
Oliver Paczkowski made his Stars debut while their injured trio continued to miss out. The Storm did not ice Ashely Smith, Duncan Speirs and Shane Bakker.
The opening minutes seen both teams exchange chances but Dundee created the most and more dangerous opportunities but Matt Ginn would not be beaten. A late shove after the whistle by Chance Braid on Dundee’s Petr Chaloupka meant the first penalty of the game would go against Manchester.
A roughing call against the Storm forward came in the 12th minute but two minutes passed and the game remained scoreless. Both goaltenders continued to stop everything that came their way until Craig Garrigan broke the deadlock. Oliver Paczkowski knocked Braid off his feet before Jordan Kelsall sent a pass to the Dundonian who was waiting in front of the Manchester goal. He fired a quick shot past Ginn on the 16th minute mark.
Stars took their slender lead into the first break and they were quick to build on it following the restart. With Dallas Ehrhardt in the box for slashing, Drydn Dow picked up the rebound from a blocked shot and picked out Brian Hart in the slot. The Stars forward put a shot past Ginn in the 23rd minute.
One minute later, Dundee picked up their first penalty as Jordan Cownie was called for interference but Omar Pacha’s men seen off all the attacks from Manchester. The visitors were responding and put a lot of pressure on the Dundee defences but they held strong to keep their two-goal lead intact.
After weathering the Storm, Dundee got a third chance on the powerplay as Riley Stadel headed to the penalty box after a tripping foul in the 38th minute. Ryan Finnerty’s side kept Stars out to keep them within touching distance going into the second intermission.
Manchester came out for the third period all fired-up as they continued to pressure Dundee. A lot of good chances were created by the Altrincham side and they finally cracked the Stars defence in the 47th minute. Rob Linsmayer popped a loose puck out to Dane Byers and he put a shot through the legs of Pontus Sjögren to get Manchester on the board.
The English side continued to dominate in possession as they searched for an equaliser but excellent defending from Dundee kept them in front. A slashing foul by Ehrhardt gave the Taysiders a fourth man advantage in the 57th minute and that was just what they needed to seal the points.
Lukas Lundvald fired a hard pass off the stick of Fabrizio Ricci and that sent the puck flying into the roof of the Manchester goal. Stars could not add a fourth before the end, despite the Storm net being vacant. ‘Man of the Match’ awards went to Dane Byers and Dundee’s Pontus Sjögren.
After claiming their fifth straight win, Dundee now turn their attention to a Coventry Blaze side that will be licking their wounds after being burnt by the Flames in Guildford on Saturday night.