FIFE FLYERS 6 TRADE-MART DUNDEE STARS 3
The Trade-Mart Dundee needed to cross the River Tay and take two points off their biggest rivals, Fife Flyers on Saturday night to get their Challenge Cup campaign back on track and they could not have made a better start to the game.
By Kris Smith
Despite missing one of their key forwards, Johnny Walker who was serving the second of his two-match ban, Dundee came out the traps quickly and jumped straight into the lead after only two minutes of play as Spencer Naas opened the scoring.
The American was waiting to turn the puck past Fife netminder, Shane Owen at the back post after Jake Elmer had just been denied by the keeper.
Owen’s counter-part, Kevin Carr had his own fair share of shots to stop too in the first period but did so with a large amount of comfort as his defence frequently put their bodies on the line to stop pucks making their way through to the Stars goalie.
With Marc LeFebvre’s men grasping control of the game, Canadian forward, Ryan Valentini then gave Dundee an even tighter grip of the match as doubled their lead inside 14 minutes, burying a backhanded effort past Owen.
The visitors were set to take their two-goal cushion into the first break but with the clock running down, the Stars made a late break for it and rushed up the ice and Valentini would see his shot saved before Anthony Rinaldi batted in the rebound out of mid-air, with only 10 seconds left to play.
In the second session, Jake Elmer would be punished for a tripping foul on 23 minutes and that allowed the home team to get their way back into the game as a chunk of luck got them off the mark.
Flyers forward, Anthon Eriksson would rifle a shot towards the Dundee goal but it would be stopped by the blocker of Carr, however the puck bounced off of Troy Lajeunesse who was standing on the edge of the crease and landed in the back of the net.
Tom Coolen’s men then began to apply the pressure on their rivals and eventually found a second goal at the halfway-mark, this time an unmarked Johan Eriksson able to tap home on the doorstep.
The home team kept piling on the pressure, forcing LeFebvre into calling a time-out to regroup his side and that seemed to settle the Stars down as they returned to generating offence and dangerous chances in the back half of the middle period.
The closest Dundee came to re-building their lead was when Valentini found himself on a breakaway but Owen was well-placed to stop his effort from sneaking in at the front post, as Valentini tried to let it slip past the keeper as he cut across the Fife goal.
In the third period, the Flyers continued their comeback and in the 45th minute Kyle Osterberg flung a shot towards goal that would bounce through traffic and over the leg of Carr, to make it 3-3.
Just 31 seconds later, Fife struck again to go into the lead as Teemu Pulkinnen finished off a chance and two minutes later, Collin Shirley gave the home team a two-goal lead as he tucked home a loose puck.
The Stars struggled to find another way past Owen and the Flyers would seal the victory when Johan Eriksson fired home on the powerplay in the 54th minute, giving the Kirkcaldy club a 6-3 win on the night.
Dundee have little time to regroup as the two teams meet again in less than 24 hours, this time on home ice for the Stars as they look to claim their first Challenge Cup win.
Man of the Match
Dundee: #17 Anthony Rinaldi
Fife: #79 Kyle Osterberg
0-1 Spencer Naas (Unassisted) 02:28
0-2 Ryan Valentini (Anthony Rinaldi, Kris Inglis) 13:52
0-3 Anthony Rinaldi (Craig Moore) 19:50
1-3 Troy Lajeunesse (Johan Eriksson, Anthon Eriksson) 25:16 PPG
2-3 Johan Eriksson (Kyle Osterberg, Collin Shirley) 30:17
3-3 Kyle Osterberg (Max Humitz) 44:57
4-3 Teemu Pulkkinen (Collin Shirley, Max Humitz) 45:28
5-3 Collin Shirley (Teemu Pulkkinen) 47:15
6-3 Johan Eriksson (Troy Lajeunesse, Anthon Eriksson) 53:35 PPG
All images: Flyers Images.