By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars did the double over Sheffield Steelers with a second straight victory over the Yorkshire outfit on Sunday night.
Sheffield were missing seven players from their roster while Dundee were only without Jordan Kelsall, who is still on international duty with the GB Under 20’s.
On Dundee’s first attack, defenceman Drydn Dow struck the crossbar before the home side were awarded the first powerplay opportunity of the evening. Tanner Eberle was sent to the penalty box for a hooking infraction after just 69 seconds of play.
Stars were unable to find an early lead as the penalty was killed but then it was their turn to play shorthanded as Matt Marquardt was called for holding in the fifth minute. Dundee also held their own before Lukas Lundvald and François Bouchard broke through the Sheffield defence. With just Matt Climie in their way, the pair exchanged passes but Lundvald was unable to find a way past the Sheffield netminder.
However, they regrouped and formed another attack, this time through Brian Hart and he put a shot into the top right corner to give Stars the lead after eight minutes. Dundee gathered a lot of momentum from the goal and could have added a few more in the following minutes.
Kris Inglis flicked the puck out of play on the 12-minute mark and that put Dundee back on the penalty kill. Pacha’s men continued to threaten as Marquardt rung the post with a shot whilst on a shorthanded break. After returning to full-strength, Dundee doubled their lead as Charles Corcoran and Matt Bissonnette connected in the 16th minute.
Corcoran played a pass into Bissonnette, who was standing in front of Climie and he easily tucked it past the Steelers keeper. The home side lead 2-0 after the first period but it was a much quieter start to the middle session as the visitors pressed for their first goal.
Dundee defended well before ex-Steeler, Marquardt took possession after turnover by Sheffield in the neutral zone. He went forward before slipping a shot between the legs of Climie in the through legs in 27th minute.
Just 21 seconds later, Stars moved 4-0 ahead as Jordan Cownie picked out Marquardt on the opposite wing and the winger blasted a shot into a gaping net, as Climie was out of position.
Tom Barrasso decided enough was enough and substituted Climie for Jackson Whistle with just under 13 minutes left in the middle period.
Barrasso got the response he was hoping or as immediately Josh Pitt got them on the board. His shot hit the left arm of Pontus Sjögren and it fell behind the Stars goalie before trickling across the line, 38 seconds after Dundee’s fourth goal.
With 36 minutes gone, Bissonnette’s brace made it 5-1 as the puck came to him following a defensive turnover by Sheffield in their own end. It did not get any better for the Yorkshire club as Ben O’Connor was then boxed on an interference call.
Dundee took their 5-1 lead into the final intermission but they also carried over a penalty as captain, Johan Andersson picked up a minor penalty for slashing on the buzzer. Sheffield could not take advantage on their third powerplay opportunity as Stars stood strong again.
A too-many men call against the Steelers then left them shorthanded again in the 49th minute as Robert Dowd served the two-minute minor. It took just 21 seconds for Stars to find the net on the powerplay, as Corcoran knocked home the rebound from Bouchard’s shot.
Inside the final eight minutes of the game, rookie Craig Garrigan was given some ice time with Stars looking comfortable. Another penalty was called by referee Pavel Halas against the away team as Anthony DeLuca was called for an interference foul.
Stefan Della Rovere attacked Dundee’s Lundvald behind the play and that caused him to be ejected from the game with four minutes left on the clock. He was given a five plus game penalty for slashing and it was served by Brandon Whistle, as Stars had a short five-on-three powerplay.
Marquardt picked up a slashing penalty in the final two minutes to make it four-on-four but they would still comfortably see out the remaining time. The final buzzer sounded to seal a double delight for Stars as they completed their first four-point weekend of 2019.
Ben O’Connor and Dundee’s Matt Marquardt were given the ‘Man of the Match’ awards.
Stars have five days to prepare before next weekend’s home double header against Nottingham Panthers and Guildford Flames.