COVENTRY BLAZE 1 TRADE-MART DUNDEE STARS 2
The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars returned to winning ways on Saturday night as they visited Coventry Blaze for the final time in the regular season and beat them at the SkyDome Arena for a second time as the match came down to the final seconds.
By Kris Smith
The Stars had new arrival, Xavier Pouliot in the line-up for his debut but were missing first line forward Brendan Harms as he served his one-game suspension and they were also without forward Brent Beaudoin, however goaltender Kevin Carr returned from injury to make his first start in four games.
It took only 67 seconds for Dundee to get in front as Spencer Naas skated onto Ryan Valentini’s drop pass, which had pulled Coventry keeper, Taran Kozun out of position and left the American with an easy finish for his 25th league goal of the season.
The Stars then continued to test the Blaze throughout the opening period but also had to be strong defensively as Coventry gained two powerplays and the second would span into the second session.
Marc LeFebvre’s penalty killing unit successfully saw out both penalties to protect their slim lead and by the end of the middle stanza, the score remain unchanged.
However, the home team found an equaliser six minutes into the third period after a miscue behind the Stars net saw Carr play the puck to what he thought was safety, but was actually onto the stick of Danny Kristo and he fired home the leveller.
Danny Stewart’s men then had another powerplay and the opportunity to take the lead as Elijah Vilio was punished for interference but the Blaze shot down their own man advantage when Kim Tallberg was penalised by the referees for a suspected dive.
With both teams down to four skates, Valentini utilised the extra space to restore the Stars lead as Carter Johnson forced a turnover in the Coventry end and defenseman, Kyle Pouncy picked out Valentini lurking in the middle.
The Canadian then moved in on goal slung his shot past Kozun to put Dundee back in front on 51 minutes and with less than nine minutes to play, the English outfit got desperate as they pushed forward for another equaliser.
It all came down to the final minutes when the home team went on another powerplay with two minutes left as Josh Brittain was called for cross-checking and they pulled Kozun from the goal in exchange for an extra attacker.
Coventry struggled to get their attack set up and Carr was making key saves and stop after stop, but with 23 seconds left on the clock, the Blaze thought Kim Tallberg’s effort had squeaked through the Stars keeper and across the line after the referees signalled for a goal.
However, after a video review, it was ruled the puck did not cross the goal line and Drydn Dow’s game-saving goal line clearance stopped the match from going into overtime and put Dundee back into a healthy position in the playoff hunt.
The seventh placed Stars are now four points clear of Fife Flyers in ninth and only eight points separate them from third place with 14 games left to play but tomorrow they host Glasgow Clan, who sit just a point behind after 40 games played each.
Man of the Match
Dundee: #49 (77) Xavier Pouliot
Coventry: #77 Danny Kristo
0-1 Spencer Naas (Ryan Valentini, Xavier Pouliot) 01:07
1-1 Danny Kristo (Unassisted) 46:21
1-2 Ryan Valentini (Kyle Pouncy, Carter Johnson) 51:04
All images: Scott Wiggins.