By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars put up a good fight on Sunday against the Sheffield Steelers but despite an inspiring comeback, they could not get themselves ahead before the visitors nicked the points in overtime.
There was no Reilly O’Connor for Stars and the Steelers scratched six players from their roster.
It was not the start the Stars wanted as the Steelers were 1-0 ahead inside two minutes.
Nikolai Lemtyugov squared a pass across the Dundee goal to Tanner Eberle, who quickly sent the puck high into the net.
The home team were given a swift chance to get back in the game as the first penalty went against Sheffield, following a period of dangerous play by Dundee.
Despite Cole Shudra sitting in the box for two minutes, the Steelers remained in the lead and following the conclusion of Shudra’s penalty, they then doubled their advantage.
A patient John Armstrong was rewarded when a rebound popped out from underneath a pile of scrambling bodies and the Sheffield forward calmly shot the puck over the pile to make it 2-0 after eight minutes.
Dundee’s Kris Inglis was next to head to the sin bin but he was closely followed by Robert Dowd of Sheffield and once Inglis had served his time, the Stars hit back with a powerplay goal.
Anthony Beauregard skated the puck into the Steelers end but lost control of the puck.
However, he luckily recovered it a second later and went on to send a quick shot over the shoulder of Tomas Duba, beating the Czech goaltender on his near post in the 12th minute.
The Tayside team were alive and dominated the rest of the period with chances but they could not find an equaliser.
Although, with just 90 seconds remaining, Jonas Liwing sent a shot from the blueline through traffic and it somehow found its way into the back of the Stars net to make it 3-1 just before the break.
Dundee were hit with another blow late in the first period as Jordan Cownie was penalised for tripping with just 26 seconds left on the clock.
Pacha’s penalty killing unit held off the Steelers until the break and again until Cownie was released from the box in the seocnd period.
Despite building some momentum after an important penalty kill, Aaron Fox’s Steelers would go 4-1 in front.
Stars goalie, Alex Leclerc made two saves before Eberle drifted in to beat the scrambling Stars defenders to the puck and whacked it home on 23 minutes.
The match continued to be full of chances as the play went back and forth but both keepers were stopping everything that came their way.
After killing a penalty of their own, Dundee were presented with a five-on-three chance as Jonathan Phillips and John Armstrong both picked up minor penalties for slashing and holding inside the final three minutes of the second period.
Discipline was becoming an issue for Sheffield as Brendan Connolly was called for two fouls on the same play and he would sit for the next four minutes after being caught cross-checking and charging.
The Stars would finally take their chances as Justin Maylan scored his first goal as a Star to make it 4-2 with 44 seconds left to play.
Dundee worked the puck nicely around the net before Kevin Dufour sent a pass across the crease to Maylan where he had wide open net to shoot into, as Duba was sprawled out across the ice.
Whilst still having a two-man advantage, Maylan bagged his second goal just 30 seconds after his first.
Beauregard had sent a shot in form the top of the Sheffield zone and Duba managed to get his blocker up to stop it, however the rebound shot straight out to Maylan and he repeated his first finish.
A big third period lay ahead for Dundee as they still had powerplay time and only trailed by a goal.
Once again, the home side would make the Steelers pay for their penalties as Beauregard sent a pass out in front of goal for Cownie and the Dundonian sent it across Duba and into the top right corner.
Three powerplay goals in just over two minutes of game time had put the Tayside team right back in the game.
Pacha’s men nearly took the as they hit the post twice and thought they had scored on second effort but a review of the paly confirmed that it was not a goal.
However, the English side would go back in front, just shy of 46 minutes when Meland delayed his shot before beating Leclerc high on his near post.
Even this latest set-back could not stop the surging Stars as Egils Kalns tied the game a minute later.
The puck sprung back off the end boards and in front of the Sheffield goal, where Kalns was lurking and quickly blasted a shot into the far top corner.
No team could find a winner before regulation time ran out and overtime was needed.
Both teams again had their chances but with a delayed penalty against Dundee, Sheffield got an extra skater onto the ice.
Michael Davies directed Armstrong’s pass into the net to seal the win and the extra point for Sheffield in the 63rd minute.
A point was a deserving reward for Stars after their valiant fightback.
Man of the Match:
Dundee: #74 Justin Maylan
Sheffield: #10 Tanner Eberle
0-1 Eberle (Lemtyugov, Armstrong) 01:52
0-2 Armstrong (Eberle, D. Phillips) 08:11
1-2 Beauregard (Pearce, Kroeker) 11:48 PPG
1-3 Liwing (Davies, Dowd) 18:30
1-4 Eberle (Vallerand, O’Connor) 22:44
2-4 Maylan (Dufour, Pearce) 39:16 PPG
3-4 Maylan (Beauregard, Pearce) 39:46 PPG
4-4 Cownie (Beauregard, Dufour) 41:29 PPG
4-5 Meland (Connolly, Lemtyugov) 45:50
5-5 Kalns (Cownie, Inglis) 47:06
5-6 Davies (Armstrong, Dowd) 62:38 EA