By Kris Smith
A historic fixture took place at the DIA on Saturday night as the Guildford Flames met the Stars for the first time in twelve years, the elite league newcomers hoping to cause an upset.
Dundee were the first team to get an attacking opportunity when a quick snapshot by Malcolm Gould forced an early blocker save by Flames goalie Chris Carrozzi, Guildford then had their first chance as Carl Ackered missed the entire goal from the edge of crease before Liam Stewart was denied by the chest of Travis Fullerton.
A bad giveaway by the Stars defence fell to Andrew McKinney but the Dundee goalie closed the angle and made the save. Marc-Olivier Mimar rattled the post with his wrist shot in the 8th minute before Brennan Yadlowski did the same at the opposite end of the ice, a minute later. It was end to end action that forced the occasional big saves from each goalie.
Guildford were the first side to get a man advantage as Emerson Hrynyk was penalised for elbowing at 15:21 following a collision with the opposition. Stars were punished on the powerplay as the puck came to Carl Ackered who fired a snapshot that beats everyone and the flames take the lead on the road. They went on to miss two huge chances that would have given them a two-goal cushion.
The game stepped up in speed and physicality towards the end of the first period of play, Brain Hart extinguished one Flame with a huge body check. Dundee’s struggle to cut open the Flames defence continued in the first half of the second period. At the other end, a quick counter-attack by Guildford led to a tip by John Dunbar that hit the post in the 27th minute.
A few plays later, a shot from the right side of the Stars defensive zone hit the goalframe and went out of sight before it rattled the metal again but the net came loose and the play was blown dead. Dundee won back possession from the face-off and moved forward, the puck was fired in but Carrozzi blocked it and a Stars player tipped the rebound goalward but the Flames netminder eventually froze the play.
Dundee had another chance to tie it but Justin Fox’s effort was denied by the pad of Carrozzi from point blank range, however a quick break by Guildford followed, it led to a pass across the crease where a Flame’s player tipped it goalward. The shot came just inches from Fullerton but he held the effort.
A giveaway in front of net by the Flames gave Mimar the chance to pull the puck to his backhand and shoot but Guildford goalie continued to deny the Stars. All of Dundee’s attacks failed to give them that golden opportunity despite hard work and determination, however the consistent pressure cracked their opponents as Jesse Craige was penalised for an interference in fraction with less than two minutes to play.
A quick move around the zone found Gabriel Lévesque low on the right side of the goal and he sent the puck across goal, hit the pads of Carrozzi and fell for Mimar, who slotted the puck home at 39:04 on the powerplay. The third period could separate both sides after dominate stints throughout the first forty minutes. Lévesque rattled a slap shot off the post in the first five minutes. Dundee took the lead through their player/head coach Omar Pacha, Jordan
Cownie passed to Pacha, who shot high over the shoulder and into the roof of the net with twelve minutes remaining.
Guildford went back on the powerplay after another big hit by Hart behind the Guildford goal, this time it resulted in a 2+10 penalty for checking from behind at 49:53. Dundee killed off the two minute man advantage before a quick pass in front of goal by Guildford led to a stramash in front of goal but the puck does not go in and the Stars received and interference penalty against Emerson Hrynyk at 52:47.
Guildford were rifling shots at goal but most hit the glass behind the net, eventually a slapshot by Jesse Craige found the twine three-quarters into the two minute powerplay, making the score 2-2 at 54:15. The game would require an extra period of play to find a winner, this would be Dundee’s third straight game that has required an overtime decider.
Just fifty-nine seconds into the extra period, a shot by Ian Watters, hit the glass behind the goal and bounced back towards goal. Rhett Rachinski beat Travis Fullerton to the puck and whacked it into the stars net with his stick at 60:59. Dundee had complaints but referee Toby Craig had no doubt that it was a good goal.
Jesse Craige and Travis Fullerton were awarded the ‘Man of the Match’ awards. Guildford took the extra point back to Surrey as both teams prepare for tonight’s game at the spectrum.