By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars lost out in a tight and controversial game down in Milton Keynes on Saturday night, two disallowed goals and two late one helped the Lightning to end Stars eight-game point streak.
Both teams had full line-ups available for the match. After a few minutes of play, the first shots of the game came from Stars but Patrick Killeen was able to keep them out. Tim Wallace cranked his hot off the post in the fifth minute. Dundee defenceman Drydn Dow was denied at the backdoor as the Lightning goalie reacted quickly to keep out the defenseman’s shot.
An off the puck tussle between Petr Chaloupka and Lightning’s Robbie Baillargeon left both teams a man down for two minutes as the pair picked up holding penalties in the eighth minute.
Both players returned to the ice before Dundee’s Lukas Lundvald took a puck to face but the forward managed to get to the bench and quickly returned to action a few minutes later. Inside the 12thminute, both sides again lost a man each as Chaloupka and Milton Keynes defender, James Griffin squared off but the pair were binned on roughing calls before a fight could break out. Both goalkeepers had yet to be tested but a stop-start first period prevented either offence from setting-up.
Dundee’s Connor Cox was next to head to the penalty box as he was called for interference in the 19thminute. The first period concluded with 20 seconds of Cox’s minor still on the clock and both teams still in deadlock.
Stars began the middle period by killing off the remaining time on the penalty. However, Matt Marquardt was called for hooking 38 seconds into the period. This time Milton Keynes would get the opening goal, Andreas Valdix set-up Baillargeon to finish into the Stars goal in the 22ndminute.
Dundee got their initial powerplay as Baillargeon was sent to the box for tripping in the 24thminute. Wallace had a chance shorthanded but even though he got a shot through the legs of Stars netminder Pontus Sjögren, it was quickly cleared off the line by a Dundee defender.
Killeen was stonewalling the Stars before, with eight seconds left on the powerplay, Lightning took another penalty as Wallace was penalised for an illegal equipment offence. Stars continued to search for an equaliser but they were struggling to get shots through traffic.
Their chances of equalising were boosted when Griffin returned to the box for slashing in the 31stminute. The home side put the puck in the net again but referee, Stefan Hogarth quickly disallowed the goal. Dundee were unable to tie the game before heading into the break.
There was a big chance for Lundvald early in the third period as he went through on goal but his effort was off target. Stars gained another chance on the powerplay as Ivan Sijan was called for high-sticking in the 43rdminute. The home team killed it off before taking another penalty as Michael Fine was then charged with slashing in the 48thminute.
Shortly after the conclusion of the powerplay, Connor Cox tipped a shot towards the Milton Keynes goal but Killeen was able to keep it out. Inside the last 10 minutes, Stars were struggling to break down Lightning and again had a chance on the man advantage. Fine was back in box for hooking with less than eight minutes left to play.
Dundee’s Matt Bissonnette had a huge chance in front of goal but Killeen came up huge for the Lightning to keep them in front. Following the expiration of another powerplay chance, Omar Pacha’s men scored. Bissonnette was found in front of Killeen by Cownie and the forward quickly sent a shot past the Lightning goalie in the 55thminute. However, following a review of the goal by referees Stefan Hogarth and Chris Wells it was ruled out.
Stars applied some heavy pressure but were unable to tie the game before another penalty against the home team gave Dundee their final shot, Martin Mazanec threw Cownie into the Lightning goal after a whistle in the 58thminute.
However, 14 seconds into the penalty kill, Milton Keynes doubled their lead with a shorthanded goal from Wallace. An empty net goal from Georgs Golovkovs 25 seconds later sealed the win for Milton Keynes. An abuse of officials penalty was also handed out to Sjögren in the final moments of the game.
‘Man of the Match’ awards went to both goaltenders, Pontus Sjögren and Patrick Killeen.
Dundee now head to Coventry to face the Blaze in their fourth and final road game of the week as they plan to get back on track with a second win of the weekend.