By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars conceded a late winner after pulling off a remarkable comeback against Fife Flyers in a thrilling game in Kirkcaldy on Saturday night.
Dundee were dealt a huge blow before the game as the news emerged that defenceman, Connor Cox would be unable to play due to a head injury. That left Stars with only three of their six original defenders, forcing head coach, Omar Pacha to suit up again. Fife were missing four players from their ranks and also the suspended Evan Stoflet.
The home side dominated the game early on and as the Stars got caught up in penalty trouble, Fife pounced on the opportunity. Dundee netminder, Pontus Sjögren was penalised for delay of game in the 10th minute and Craig Garrigan had to serve the penalty on his behalf.
Evan Bloodoff was quick to capitalise and put the Flyers in the lead, 42 seconds into the powerplay. Stars thought they had tied the game when Fabrizio Ricci’s wrapround shot went into the Fife goal but the referee’s took a second look and disallowed the goal.
Todd Dutiaume’s Flyers began to dominate again and quickly grabbed a second goal before the first break. With 34 seconds left in the period, Bloodoff found his way past Sjögren for a second time.
The home team did not let up in the opening minutes of the second stanza they increased their lead to 3-0. With Rick Pinkston in the box for interference, Fife were shorthanded and inside the 24th minute, Carlo Finucci and Bloodoff both broke away from every other player and this time it was Finucci who found the net.
The third goal obviously lit a fire inside the Stars, as Pacha’s men got off the mark after 27 minutes. It was the player-coach leading the way himself as he finally found a way past Shane Owen in the Fife net.
Despite a heavy period of pressure from Dundee, the Kirkcaldy club held out to take a 3-1 lead into the final intermission. However, the rest had not slackened the Stars’ grip on the game. Just over a minute into the third period, Lukas Lundvald had them back to within one-goal.
Less than four minutes later, Ricci finally got his name on the scoresheet as he found the net again and this time it counted and it counted massively as Dundee found themselves level again. There were signs of old hostilities showing as Kris Inglis and Flyers’ Danick Gauthier exchanged words with each other but tensions quickly simmered down.
In spite of some penalties coming against Fife in the latter stages of the third period, they Still managed to get in front again, inside the last 10 minutes. Pinkston’s slapshot flew past Sjögren in the 53rd minute and after a video review of the goal, it stood.
Stars could not come up with another answer and that meant the Flyers would be victorious for just a second time against Dundee this season. ‘Man of the Match’ awards went to both brace scorers, Evan Bloodoff and Dundee’s Fabrizio Ricci.
Fife travel to Coventry on Sunday as Stars have a rest day but the pressure is beginning to mount ahead of next weekend’s two fixtures against fellow playoff-spot contenders, Manchester Storm and Coventry Blaze.