CHALLENGE CUP QUARTER-FINALS 2ND LEG (9-8 agg SO)
FIFE FLYERS 5 TRADE-MART DUNDEE STARS 4 SO
The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars were in Kirkcaldy with the goal of securing the club’s first trip to the Semi-Finals of the Challenge Cup, but they would need to win on the road against their biggest rivals, Fife Flyers to do so.
By Kris Smith
The Stars were missing four players from their line-up as upper-body injuries kept Hugo Reinhardt and Ben Brown out of action.
Defenseman, Kris Inglis was side-lined due to illness and forward, Jonathan McBean was away on international duty with Team GB Under 20’s, where he scored twice in Wednesday’s 9-0 win over Romania.
Dundee did not allow the Flyers to get their home support into the game and quickly got on top of their opponents, with Shane Owen being forced into a number of early saves, but he was unable to stop Ben Sokay’s shot from hitting the back of the net in the fifth minute.
The Canadian centerman pulled off a lovely move to drag the puck around the Fife keeper, before shooting into the gaping goal and the Stars did not stop trying to extend their lead there.
After waves of Dundee attacks, the Flyers defence finally got a break when Stars forward, Elijiah Barriga was penalised for colliding with Owen and he was sin binned for two minutes on a goalie interference charge.
Jeff Mason’s penalty killing units defended well and kept repelling the home side’s advances but with just seconds remaining on the man advantage, Zach Phillips buried his shot into the Stars goal via the underside of the crossbar, in the 12th minute.
However, the game would not be tied for long and Dundee would soon take a 2-1 lead and 6-5 aggregate lead with a powerplay goal of their own, when Carter Folk tucked home the puck on 16 minutes, whilst Janne Kivilahti sat in the penalty box for tripping.
After the first period, the visitors were still in front and in the second session they were pushing forward to try and build their lead, but they did have to fend off another Flyers powerplay as Ian Parker was called for tripping.
Fife forward, Mikael Johansson then had his side’s best opportunity so far to tie the game as he went through clean on goal but despite some flashy moves, he could not beat Stars goaltender, Anton Svensson.
As the match passed its halfway point, Dundee were edging closer to their third goal of the night and eventually Elijiah Barriga would fire home the goal to double their advantage.
After a barrage of shots were saved by Owen, Romans Semjonovs found his teammate with a cross-goal pass and Barriga had a wide-open net to shoot into, in the 34th minute.
Although, Todd Dutiaume’s men were not ready to fold yet or give up on their dreams of a place in the final four, and 28 seconds later, Phillips would bag his brace as he fired past Svensson again to keep the deficit to one.
The large and loud travelling Stars support were then almost out of their seats again to celebrate a goal in the 38th minute as Owen dived on top of a loose puck that was sitting on his goal line, but after a brief video review, it was determined that it was not a goal and the Flyers breathed a sigh of relief.
Dundee remained one goal ahead heading into the final period but the Flyers never say die attitude paid off in the final 20 minutes.
The Kirkcaldy club first tied the game at 3-3 on the 44-minute mark, when Phillips completed his hat-trick with a quick wrist shot from the right side of Svensson’s goal and the Swedish goalie had to produce a number of key saves in the moments after to stop the home side taking the lead.
A high-sticking foul by Johansson then gave the red-hot Stars powerplay a chance to regain the lead and they did just that as Johan Eriksson scored his fourth goal in three games with a powerful slapshot to turn home a rebound.
It then all came down to final minutes and Dutiaume would swap his goalie for an extra attacker with 90 seconds to go, but the gamble paid off as with just 68 seconds left on the clock, Brayden Sherbinin hit a slapshot that blew right into the top corner of the Dundee goal.
Overtime would be required to decide which of these two Scottish clubs would make their debut in the Challenge Cup Semi-Finals, but after five minutes of three-on-three, still no winner emerged and a shootout would settle the matter.
After five rounds of penalty shots, both sides had scored twice as Johansson and Chris Lawrence netted for the Flyers and Barriga and Philippe Sanche found a way past Owen!
Then in sudden death, Barriga would be denied before Philipps hit the net for the forth time that evening and sent the Flyers into the Semi-Finals.
The Stars have just two days of preparation before they head into a weekend pair of games starting on Saturday in Cardiff against the Devils, before they welcome Sheffield Steelers to Tayside on Sunday.
Man of the Match
Dundee: #24 Ben Sokay
Fife: #7 Zach Phillips
0-1 Ben Sokay (Ryan Verrier, Johan Eriksson) 04:07
1-1 Zach Phillips (Dillon Lawrence, Christian Hausinger) 11:11 PPG
1-2 Carter Folk (Johan Eriksson, Ben Sokay) 15:57 PPG
1-3 Elijiah Barriga (Romans Semjonovs, Philippe Sanche) 33:27
2-3 Zach Phillips (Janne Laakkonen, Chris Lawrence) 33:55
3-3 Zach Phillips (Brayden Sherbinin, Janne Laakkonen) 44:00
3-4 Johan Eriksson (Ryan Verrier, Ben Sokay) 47:45 PPG
4-4 Brayden Sherbinin (Zach Phillips) 58:52 EA
5-4 Zach Phillips (Unassisted) 65:00 PS
Fife: Zach Phillips – Saved
Dundee: Ben Sokay – Saved
Fife: Mikael Johansson – Goal
Dundee: Elijiah Barriga – Goal
Fife: Dillon Lawrence – Saved
Dundee: Johan Eriksson – Saved
Fife: Janne Kivilahti – Missed
Dundee: Romans Semjonovs – Missed
Fife: Chris Lawrence – Goal
Dundee: Philippe Sanche – Goal
Dundee: Elijiah Barriga – Saved
Fife: Zach Phillips – Goal
All images: Flyers Images.