By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars were unable to find a win this week as they lost out in a 6-3 game with the Sheffield Steelers at home on Sunday evening.
Forward Brett Stovin returned to the line-up after three weeks out but defenseman, Reilly O’Connor was still not cleared to play.
The action went back and forth from the start but both goalies were kept busy and on their toes as both teams took plenty of shots.
When the first penalty of the game came against Sheffield’s Mikko Kuukka for a tripping foul, that really opened the game up.
Thus, the Dundee’s captain, Matt Marquardt would begin the scoring as he tipped in Jagger Dirk’s shot at the right post on 13 minutes.
However, Marc-Olivier Vallerand would put the Steelers back on level terms in the 14th minute after he entered the Dundee zone, cut inside and rifled a shot high into the far-left top corner.
The Stars were then on the penalty kill as Dirk was penalised for tripping but the home side killed off the penalty and no team was able to find a go-ahead-goal before the first break.
The second period seen the visitors take the lead as Brendan Connolly turned in Michael Davies pass from behind the Stars net inside the 22nd minute.
Marek Troncinsky was the next player to be sent to the Steelers penalty box after he was caught holding a Stars player back, just 20 seconds after the goal.
Although, just as Dundee needed to get back on level terms, Aaron Fox’s men moved 3-1 in front as Tanner Eberle deflected David Phillip’s shot past Alex Leclerc in the Dundee net.
Things got tougher for the Tayside team as Sheffield began to flex their muscles and they showed just how dangerous they can be – the same Steelers side that beat Fife Flyers 10-3 the previous night.
It soon became 4-1 as James Bettauer blasted a shot from out wide and it flew into the top of the net in the 33rd minute.
There was a massive chance for Dundee to pull one back as Jordan Cownie and Drydn Dow broke down the ice with only one defending Steeler in their way but Cownie delayed the pass to Dow and it was cut out by the defender.
Following the conclusion of a two-minute powerplay as Inglis was boxed for holding, the Steelmen netted for a fifth time inside 35 minutes.
Robert Dowd provided the finishing touch as the puck came to him after Dundee defenseman, Shawn Boutin had kneeled down to block a pass across goal.
Sheffield were hitting penalty trouble late in the second period and a similar situation from their last meeting with the Stars looked to be on the cards.
With Steeler, Ben O’Connor in the sin bin for holding, Anthony Beauregard capitalised on the man advantage by hitting a powerful shot that slipped between the arm and body of Thomas Duba with just over a minute left to play.
The third period then began with Dundee picking up a penalty inside the first two minutes as Elgin Pearce was called for a late hit on Connolly and from the following powerplay, Connolly converted a sixth goal for Sheffield.
Michael Davies had drilled a shot at Leclerc and it ended up behind the Stars netminder for Connolly to push home on 43 minutes.
The game went back and forth for most of the final period as Dundee pushed to get back in the tie and they were given a huge chance to do that as the Steelers took back-to-back penalties.
With Bettauer and Aaron Brocklehurst both in the box for minor fouls, Omar Pacha’s powerplay gave it their all to try and kick-start a comeback but the Steelers penalty killing unit was on top form.
It all came down to the final minutes and both teams had taken more penalties but after both sides had retuned to full strength, Brett Stovin bagged the final goal of the game to make it 6-3.
The Canadian forward, who just returned from injury nicked the loose rebound of Dow’s shot before Duba could snatch it up and then moved away from the keeper before sliding the puck into a gaping goal in the 59th minute.
The final buzzer sounded to round off a pointless week for Dundee and a four point weekend for Sheffield.
The Stars now have next week to regroup and refocus before next weekend’s games at home to Coventry Blaze and away to the Steelers.
Man of the Match:
Dundee: #6 Drydn Dow
Sheffield: #19 Michael Davies
1-0 Marquardt (Dirk, Maylan) 13:00 PPG
1-1 Vallerand (Davies) 15:34
1-2 Connolly (Davies, Bettauer) 21:32
1-3 Eberle (D. Phillips, O’Connor) 27:48
1-4 Bettauer (Sandström, Troncincky) 32:08
1-5 Dowd (Armstrong, Brocklehurst) 34:42
2-5 Beauregard (Dufour, Boutin) 38:44 PPG
2-6 Connolly (Vallerand, Davies) 43:01 PPG
3-6 Stovin (Dow, Kroeker) 58:12