By Kris Smith
Stars came close to pulling off an unbelievable comeback in Surrey last night as they lost out to the Flames in a thrilling third period.
The Kitmart Dundee Stars travelled to Guildford on Saturday night to face a 7th placed Flames side who were keen to maintain their 100 per cent win record against Dundee, since they re-joined the British top-flight.
Dundee were without one of their top scorers in Matt Marquardt and also Petr Chaloupka and Matt Bissonnette through injury. Guildford did not ice Brett Ferguson, Kevin Phillips and Michael Will.
Stars were gifted an early man advantage after Guildford’s Corbin Baldwin was penalised for slashing in third minute, however the game remained goalless. Johan Andersson was called for hooking in the fifth minute but Paul Dixon’s men were unable to open the scoring.
Eventually the first goal would come and it was on the powerplay as Dundee’s François Bouchard had been boxed for high-sticks in the 12th minute. Ian Watters provided the goal for Guildford to put them ahead in the 13th minute.
The action would go back and forth for the rest of the first period, as the home side carried a narrow lead into the first intermission. Once again Stars were given an early chance as Jez Lundin was called for interference 34 seconds after the restart but Stars still could not get off the mark.
Flames doubled their lead through Evan Ritt as he beat Pontus Sjögren in the 25th minute. Omar Pacha’s men were given a chance to grab a quick goal back after Lundin was boxed again on an elbowing call, 17 seconds after the goal but their powerplay moved to zero for three on the night.
Dundee’s night got worse when they fell 3-0 behind, a Jordan Abt strike finding the net in the 33rd minute. Watters netted his second of the evening in the 38th minute before Mike Sullivan responded 39 seconds later to get Stars on the board.
The second period ended with the home side holding a commanding 4-1 lead but Dundee were keen to destroy their advantage in the final 20 minutes and they started off perfectly. Two goals in 35 seconds reeled in the Flames to a one-goal lead, with Fabrizio Ricci netting 42 seconds after the puck-drop and Lukas Lundvald scoring again in the 42nd minute.
An interference call against Watters in the 45th minute gave the Tayside team a chance to tie it on the powerplay but were again unable to capitalise as a holding penalty against Shawn Boutin cut the man advantage short.
Guildford were back on the offensive as they tried to regain control of the game and were given a series of chances as their opponents ran into penalty trouble. Stars goalie, Sjögren was given a minor delay of game penalty for dislodging the goal frame in the 52nd minute, from this John Dunbar was able to restore his side’s two-goal lead in the 53rd minute.
Paul Dixon’s side were then given a five-on-three powerplay as Brian Hart was called for tripping, 28 seconds before Boutin was again penalised for holding in the 54th minute. Dixon used Guildford’s timeout and yanked their netminder for an extra attacker. Now with a three-man advantage, Kruise Reddick fired in a sixth goal in the 55th minute and Sjögren was not pleased. His reaction to the goal resulted in his ejection from the game, the Swede received a 20-minute game misconduct penalty for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Backup netminder Craig Holland entered the game and at 6-3 down with just over five minutes to play, the Stars could have given up but they did not. Ricci netted his second of the evening in the 58th minute before Holland was pulled and with the extra skater, Brian Hart found Stars fifth goal with 1:02 left on the clock.
Unfortunately for Omar Pacha and his players, Guildford held on to claim the 6-5 regulation win and the two points. Evan Ritt and Fabrizio Ricci picked up the ‘Man of the Match’ awards. Both teams have a quick turn around before facing off again on Sunday at 5pm in Dundee.