By Kris Smith
Dundee Stars finally tasted defeat at the hands of their rivals, Fife Flyers after a 3-0 defeat in Kirkcaldy.
Dundee were again without winger Matt Bissonnette but Fife were down four import players as Rick Pinkston, Evan Bloodoff, Chase Schaber and the suspended Carlo Finucci all missed out. Finucci received a two-game ban after slashing Drydn Dow across the back of the legs on Wednesday night in Dundee.
The home team had the first chance but Marcus Basara seen his shot sent wide by Pontus Sjögren in the second minute. Lukas Lundvald then had the first real opportunity for Dundee as he forced Shane Owen to cling to his post to keep out the Dane’s effort.
Fabrizio Ricci and Fife’s Scott Aarssen exchanged some words behind the Flyers net after a whistle and the physicality had carried over from Wednesday’s game. Dundee’s first chance on the powerplay came as Joe Basaraba was penalised for high-sticking after he caught Petr Chaloupka in the face with his stick in the seventh minute.
Fife were strong on the penalty kill and forced Dundee into their own end before former Dundee Star, Bari McKenzie brought a big glove save from Sjögren in the ninth minute. Omar Pacha’s Stars were awarded a penalty shot inside the 13thminute as Charles Corcoran was fouled when he went through on goal but the American lost control and could not get a shot off.
A strong stint of attacking play from Dundee was followed by some great defensive work as Mike Sullivan recovered well to strip Danick Gauthier of the puck after the Flyer had got past him. Inside the final five minutes of the first period, there was a lot of good stick on stick blocking from the Stars to prevent Flyers getting shots on target.
Fife’s Gauthier was found in front of the Dundee net again but Sjögren did enough to keep out his low shot before a late attack from Flyers caused some alarm for Dundee but Sjögren kept out each shot that Flyers threw on him. A goalless first stanza left control of the game up for grabs for both teams.
It was an energetic start from Stars in the middle period but they were soon penalised as Shawn Boutin was sent to the box for slashing in the 24thminute. After the home side’s powerplay had concluded, Brett Bulmer intercepted a pass and went straight down the ice but Boutin smothered out the chance.
Fife took the lead after a turnover in the Stars end was converted by Gauthier in the 28thminute. Todd Dutiaume’s side continued to shutdown Dundee as they searched for an equaliser but Dundee tested their defence on a few occasions. Connor Cox seen his shot deflect off his own teammates, Ricci and Jordan Cownie before flying wide of goal.
Nearing the end of the second period, Sjögren was forced to make several saves to stop Fife from doubling their lead. With 1:19 on the clock Dundee were back on penalty kill as captain Johan Andersson was found guilty of hooking. Pacha’s men managed to keep the deficit to just one goal going into the second intermission but they still had 41 seconds of Andersson’s penalty to kill in the third.
The penalty expired before Basara brought another glove save from Sjögren. Flyers’ Jordan Buesa was next to head to the sin bin on an illegal equipment call just after the 42ndminute mark. Stars worked the puck around well but they still could not break down their opponents.
Sjögren came up with a few big saves to keep the score line at just 1-0 before a hooking call against Gauthier left Fife shorthanded again in the 48thminute. The powerplay expired before Cox showed some brilliant skill to shield the puck from the lurking Bulmer and Crowder.
Andersson retuned to the box after picking up a minor hooking penalty in the 51stminute but Dundee killed off the penalty. Flyers did not sit back and continued to attack he Stars defence but to no avail.
However, the hosts eventually doubled their lead after Crowder rounded the keeper and seen his first effort saved by the toe of Sjögren before the rebound came back to him and he scored in the 55thminute.
Another former Star, Craig Moore rounded off the scoring with an empty net goal in the final two minutes making it 3-0. ’Man of the Match’ awards were presented to Brett Bulmer and Dundee’s Pontus Sjögren.
Disappointment finally came for Dundee as their winning streak ended but Omar Pacha now must rest his side ahead of their final game of 2018. Stars travel to Belfast for another meeting with the Giants as they aim to get their league campaign back on track.