By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars continued their battling performances by earning a hard-fought lead in opening period against Guildford Flames on Saturday.
Dundee were still down two players as Reilly O’Connor and Brett Stovin were on the injured reserve and the Flames were without Jez Lundin and the suspended Brett Ferguson.
The Stars had the best set of chances in the opening minutes as they created three clear scoring opportunities but at the last minute the Guildford defence would be able to break up the plays.
Both sides had powerplay chances before the 10-minute mark but after the home side couldn’t capitalise on theirs, the visiting Flames made the most of their man advantage.
Defenseman, Calle Ackered stepped into Jesse Craige’s pass and blasted a slapshot through traffic and into the Dundee net on 11 minutes.
However, the Tayside team would get back on level terms after 16 minutes as a Matt Marquardt directed the puck into the Guildford net.
The puck had spilt out to behind the net after a scramble in front and that allowed Egils Kalns to bank the puck off the Stars captain and into the goal.
Just as the game looked to be heading into the first intermission tied at 1-1, Kevin Dufour let go, an absolute rocket to put the Stars ahead.
The Stars in-form marksman received the puck from Anthony Beauregard after the face-off draw and rapidly released a rising shot that flew into the far-left corner with just 32 seconds left on the clock.
Paul Dixon was after a big response from his side in the second period and was hoping they would lose their bus legs but it was Omar Pacha’s side that kept on surging forward.
Following a number of dangerous attacks by Dundee, they again beat Travis Fullerton and it came in a similar fashion to their last goal.
In the 25th minute and straight from a face-off, defender Shawn Boutin would let go a quick shot from high on the blueline that flew past Fullerton.
After Stars moved 3-1 ahead, the play went from end to end for a short period of time and the physical element of a hockey game began to show.
During the hard-hitting stint, Guilford were able to create more chances for themselves but on every opportunity, Dundee netminder, Alex Leclerc was coming up big for his side.
The Stars extended their lead to 4-1 in the 32nd minute as Marquardt was lurking in front of the Guilford goal and after a puck was blocked by a Flames defender, Marquardt was the quickest to react and tucked it past as fooled Fullerton.
John Dunbar pulled one back for the Surrey side from close range as he received a pass from Jordan Rowley.
Dunbar spun quickly with the puck and sent a high shot into the roof on the home net after 36 minutes.
The Taysiders would again kill any momentum built by Dixon’s Flames as they scored inside the final minute once again.
With Eric Lindhagen in the sin bin for a tripping foul, Dundee’s powerplay unit were able to punish their opponents for a second time.
With 31 seconds to play, Craig Gans sent a hard shot towards Fullerton and after making the initial stop, the former-Stars goalie could not prevent Kalns from turning in the rebound.
The third period was a quieter affair and the next goal would not come until the 52nd minute as Colton Kroeker sent Elgin Pearce’s pass over the shoulder of Fullerton to make it 6-2.
Guildford made a big push in the final minutes but once time grew shorter, their hopes of taking anything from the game dwindled.
With just 17 seconds left in the match, Jordan Abt was sent off after a high hit on Stars forward, Pearce.
Abt made contact with the head of Pearce to earn himself a two plus 10 penalty for checking to the head.
Dundee would face no threat to their lead in the final seconds and the buzzer sounded to confirm that their winning streak would grow to three games.
Their next chance to extend that streak comes less than 24 hours later as they follow the Flames down the road to Surrey for another league tie on Sunday, face-off 6pm.
Man of the Match:
Dundee: #37 Matt Marquardt
Guildford: #90 John Dunbar
0-1 Ackered (Craige, Reddick) 10:55 PPG
1-0 Marquardt (Kalns, Gans) 16:12 PPG
2-1 Dufour (Beauregard) 19:28
3-1 Boutin (Dirk, Maylan) 24:06
4-1 Marquardt (Gans, Dirk) 31:53
4-2 Dunbar (Rowley, Foster) 36:42
5-2 Kalns (Gans, Maylan) 39:29 PPG
6-2 Kroeker (Pearce, Dufour) 51:59