COVENTRY BLAZE 3 TRADE-MART DUNDEE STARS 5
The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars began their double header against Coventry Blaze down in the West Midlands on Saturday night and they needed to start their weekend off with a win to keep their dreams of making the playoffs alive.
By Kris Smith
The Stars travelled down to Coventry without defenseman, Kris Inglis and forwards, Romans Semjonovs, Jonathan McBean and Ben Brown but faced a Blaze side, who had just one extra man.
The game got off to a slow-tempoed start but the pace would soon be picked up after Philippe Sanche’s effort trickled past Miklos Rajna on seven minutes.
The Stars forward had taken the puck after Elijiah Barriga won possession at the face-off and Sanche would only get a loose connection on his shot, sending it slowly goalward before it deflected in off the stick of the Blaze keeper.
The home side were quick to push back and almost found an equaliser but they could not find a way past Anton Svensson in the Dundee net.
Although, Jeff Mason’s men also went close and could have added two or three more in the first period but their lead would remain at just 1-0 after 20 minutes.
However, they were far more clinical in the second session and exploded for three goals inside the opening three minutes and it took just 24 seconds for Sanche to get his second of the game, as he finished off a chaotic series of play by burying his shot past Rajna, from straight in front of goal.
Dundee then went 3-0 ahead in the 23rd minute as Sanche completed his hat-trick by following up his own shot and tucking home the rebound, which forced Danny Stewart into calling a timeout to try and settle his side down.
Although, they were unable to calm things down and just 27 seconds after the restart, Ben Sokay flew down the ice and went one-on-one with the Hungarian goalkeeper, before firing into the net.
Rajna was then subbed off for Blaze back-up goalie, Paavo Holsa and that finally gave Coventry the shake-up they needed as Johnny Curran would get them on the board, just one minute later.
Curran had room in front of goal as he caught the Stars defences lacking and he smacked home Kim Tallberg’s pass from deep in the corner and the home team would make another cut into the lead in the 39th minute.
J.D. Dudek would sling his shot between the legs of Svensson as he raced through on goal and that pulled the English team back withing two, as the second period ended 4-2.
The third stanza would see much less goals scored but the two that did go in came at crucial times as on the 54-minute-mark, Toms Rutkis bagged his third of the season after tapping in the rebound from Sanche’s initial effort, that had been saved by Holsa.
Although, the Blaze did not go away and Curran quickly struck back to make it 5-3, when he redirected Nathanael Halbert’s long-range shot past Svensson.
The Stars then had to fight off an all-out attack from Coventry in the final five minutes but they did so and did it well, securing two much needed points to keep their hopes of reaching the post-season alive.
These two teams will do it all again on Sunday as they head back up to Dundee for their final regular season meeting and the Stars will take their edge over the Blaze onto home ice.
Man of the Match
Dundee: #10 Philippe Sanche
Coventry: #41 Johnny Curran
0-1 Philippe Sanche (Elijiah Barriga) 07:39
0-2 Philippe Sanche (Drydn Dow, Erik Näslund) 20:24
0-3 Philippe Sanche (Hugo Reinhardt) 22:16
0-4 Ben Sokay (Johan Eriksson, Drydn Dow) 22:43
1-4 Johnny Curran (Kim Tallberg, Tanner Lishchynsky) 23:21
2-4 J.D. Dudek (Tanner Lishchynsky, David Clements) 38:38
2-5 Toms Rutkis (Philippe Sanche, Craig Moore) 54:06
3-5 Johnny Curran (Nathanael Halbert, Brady Norrish) 55:12
All images: Scott Wiggins.