By Kris Smith
Stars won two massive points in Kirkcaldy as they capitalised on their games in hand advantage over their playoff rivals.
Dundee were boosted by the return of defencemen Riley Stadel to their line-up, meanwhile Liam Heelis and goaltender Andy Iles were back on Flyers team sheet, but Iles was selected to play the backup role.
The game got off to a quiet start with both teams having a few chances but nothing that caused any alarm for either side. Fife got on the board first after holding the puck in the Dundee end for a brief period of time. Carlo Finucci threw the puck out in front of the Stars goal and it deflected off the skate of a Dundee defencemen before slipping past Travis Fullerton at 9:08.
Thirty-seconds later Dundee suffered a huge blow as Chris Lawrence was ejected from the game for cross-checking and that gave Flyers a five-minute powerplay. Stars were defending well and the pressure on them was reduced when Finucci was sent to the box for hooking and that would cancel out the rest of the home side’s man advantage.
After Dundee regained their fifth skater, they went on the powerplay but failed to capitalise on a good chance to equalise. Cody Carlson picked up a slashing penalty to send Fife back on the powerplay in the seventeenth minute. The first period concluded with Todd Dutiaume’s Flyers leading 1-0 but Stars had put in some good shifts towards the end.
The second period also begun with a slow tempo but Finucci returned to the box for slashing in the twenty-seventh minute. This time Stars utilised their man advantage after some good build up play, Anthony Mastrodicasa roofed a shot into top of net past Jordan Marr at 27:09.
Gabriel Lévesque and James Isaacs both took two-minute minor penalties but both teams killed off the powerplays and returned to full strength. The action had gone from end-to-end but just as play settled down, Jimmy Jensen beat Marr up high as he sent Dundee ahead 2-1 after 38:31.
The middle period ended with Stars in front for the first time in the game, but they were in cruise control from then on as Lévesque added a third less than two minutes into the third period. Dundee’s leading point scorer fired a shot that trickled through the pads of Marr and across the line at 41:59.
Prior to Stars third goal the home fans had been celebrating when they thought they had found an equaliser but the puck hit the outside netting of the Dundee goal. Flyers were put on the backfoot as they tried to find a way back into the game after Chase Schaber was penalised for holding in the forty-sixth minute.
Omar Pacha’s side could not extended their lead through that opportunity but soon did during normal play as Malcolm Gould fired a lovely shot into the top corner at 49:01. Frustration was setting in amongst the Fife squad as they went 4-1 down, a big hit in the corner by Isaacs shortly after the restart caused multiple penalties and Lukas Lundvald to head to the Dundee locker room.
Lévesque picked up a roughing minor for defending his teammate while Issacs received two-minute minors for both elbowing and roughing plus a ten-minute misconduct penalty. There would be no more scoring or penalties as Dundee ran down the clock to see off Flyers for a second time in Kirkcaldy this season.
Gabriel Lévesque and Fife’s Jordan Marr were awarded the ‘Man of the Match’ prizes. Stars now have a quick turnaround for their next game tomorrow, as they host Coventry Blaze and with the right results can move into the eighth and final playoff spot.
Image: Fife Flyers