CARDIFF DEVILS 5 TRADE-MART DUNDEE STARS 4 (SO)
The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars earned a much-needed point in their final regular season match against Cardiff Devils on Saturday night in South Wales, as they went behind and ahead in an incredibly tight contest which ended in a shootout win for the home team.
By Kris Smith
The Stars iced without forwards, Jonathan McBean and Romans Semjonovs but made a change in the crease as Welsh shot-stopper, Brython Preece came in for Anton Svensson and made his first start in the league since December, which was when Dundee made their first visit to Ice Arena Wales of this campaign.
The first period would be scoreless but there was plenty of fast-paced and end-to-end action, including a scrap between Devils’ Sam Duggan and Dundonian defender, Kris Inglis to get the atmosphere ignited after the pair exchanged blows at center ice.
However, in the second period it took just over three minutes for the stalemate to be ended as Cardiff’s Cole Sanford slipped between the Stars defences before sliding the puck between the legs of Preece, who had been playing outstandingly throughout the match.
Although, less than two minutes later, the Stars found themselves on a quick counter-attack after Preece denied the home team of a dangerous two-on-one chance at the other end and Dundee forward, Elijiah Barriga then made an intelligent play to keep his team onside, where Hugo Reinhardt would then tee-up Philippe Sanche to shoot into the top left corner of Ben Bowns’ goal.
Then just after the halfway-mark of the match was passed, the Tayside team were fresh off the back of a penalty kill when Erik Näslund scored his first goal of the season to put the Stars ahead, as the Swedish defenseman-turned-forward, quickly swiped home the rebound from Chris Lidjsman’s shot that dropped perfectly in front of him and an open net.
Jeff Mason’s men had been playing well to defend their lead but they would not be able to stop the Devils from tying things up just before the end of the second period as Ryan Penny buried Ben Davies’ drop pass into the top of the Dundee net on 37 minutes.
The two teams would then battle it out through most of the third period before the Devils eventually got back in front in the 55th minute as Sanford bagged his second of the game with a deflection on Marcus Crawford’s shot to send the puck past Preece.
However, Dundee again produced a swift response as just 14 seconds later they made it 3-3, with Inglis netting his second of the season on a low, long-range effort that slipped past an unsighted Bowns.
The visitors then got back in front with less than four minutes remaining on the clock as Carter Folk’s quick shot following a face-off was turned in off the body of Johan Eriksson as he crossed in front of the Cardiff goal, putting the Stars in a great position to go on and win the game.
Although, Brodie DuPont’s men were not ready to give up and gambled by pulled the goaltender in the final minutes, for which they were repaid with an equaliser, as with just 30 seconds left to play Joey Martin lifted home the Devils’ fourth goal with the Dundee defences scrambling in front of their goal.
The Stars boss was left incensed after he thought some his players had been fouled in the build-up to the goal or that Preece has been obstructed from having a chance to make the save, and that ended with Mason being sent to the dressing room for the remainder of the match.
Overtime would be required to find a winner and despite both teams having some powerplay time in the extra period, the five minutes of additional time came and went without a goal, meaning penalty shots would then be used to settle the winner.
The opening six shots would all be missed as Cardiff were denied three times by Preece and Bowns responded by stopping all of the Stars efforts.
In the fourth round of penalties, Crawford stepped out for the Devils and finally broke the deadlock after waiting out the Dundee netminder, before finishing into the roof of the net.
Barriga then failed to beat Bowns and Joshua Brittain took his chance to seal the victory for the Devils as he also shot high past Preece.
A well-deserved point is only consolation for Dundee as they very well could have taken two and given up none to the Devils, but the Stars will be happy to have at least one point to show for their efforts as they return home to face Glasgow Clan on reverse retro night at the DIA.
Man of the Match
Dundee: #44 Brython Preece
Cardiff: #96 Cole Sanford
1-0 Cole Sanford (Joey Martin, Trevor Cox) 23:30
1-1 Philippe Sanche (Hugo Reinhardt, Elijiah Barriga) 25:11
1-2 Erik Näslund (Chris Lidjsman, Ian Parker) 30:40
2-2 Ryan Penny (Ben Davies, Marcus Crawford) 37:39
3-2 Cole Sanford (Marcus Crawford, Trevor Cox) 54:02
3-3 Kris Inglis (Hugo Reinhardt, Philippe Sanche) 54:16
3-4 Johan Eriksson (Carter Folk, Ben Sokay) 56:45
4-4 Joey Martin (Brodie Reid, Marcus Crawford) 59:30
5-4 Joshua Brittain (Unassisted) 65:00 PS
Cardiff: Brodie Reid – Saved
Dundee: Ben Sokay – Saved
Cardiff: Cole Sanford – Saved
Dundee: Johan Eriksson – Saved
Cardiff: Trevor Cox – Saved
Dundee: Philippe Sanche – Saved
Cardiff: Marcus Crawford – Goal
Dundee: Elijiah Barriga – Saved
Cardiff: Joshua Brittain – Goal
All images: James Assinder.