TRADE-MART DUNDEE STARS 3 MANCHESTER STORM 1
The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars debuted their two new signings against Manchester Storm on Saturday night at the DIA and the refreshed squad made an instant impact.
By Kris Smith
Bruising defender, Cole Fraser was given a place in the starting six and right from the off, he started laying his heavyweight frame into the Storm.
Then, just three minutes into the game, he would draw a penalty to put the Stars on an early powerplay as Manchester’s Jake Bricknell was punished for tripping.
Dundee worked the puck around well but were struggling to maintain possession in the Manchester end.
However, after Ben Sokay made a quick dash forward, the puck quickly found its way to Carter Folk, who tried a lofted shot across goal and it would fall into the Storm net after deflecting off one of the defensemen.
It took just over four minutes for Jeff Mason’s men to take the lead and they would do well to defend it, as they did not back down from a physical and gritty battle.
Returning to Dundee for a third spell, fellow blueliner, Craig Moore also marked his return with some big hits and crucial plays in the opening minutes, helping his teammates fend off a long Storm powerplay after Fraser recieved a four-minute, double-minor penalty for high-sticks.
The Altrincham side did not make it easy for the Stars and forced them to play tight in front of goal, blocking shots and battling for positioning but the Tayside team survived with their narrow lead intact.
The rest of the first period saw both clubs land in more penalty trouble but the standout moment was Ian Parker standing up for teammate, Philippe Sanche, who had been the victim of Scott Simmonds cr0ss-check and the incredibly large American swiftly grabbed Simmonds and threw him to the ice, earning himself a minor penalty for roughing.
The home crowd was pumped up after a strong start from their refreshed team and in the second period, the home team continued their defensive excellence but were failing to convert any chances into another goal.
Although, Matt Ginn’s men soon came back into the tie and with it being a one-goal game, all they needed was one slice of luck to get themselves level.
Unfortunately for the Storm, Dundee’s defence looked unbreakable and whenever they did wafer, goaltender Anton Svensson was in red hot form and comfortably dealt with all of the 23 shots that came his way, through the first 40 minutes.
The visitors failed to capitalise on yet another man advantage and Dundee would make them pay for it, as in the final minute of the middle stanza, Hugo Reinhardt turned home the second goal.
After netminder, Jeremy Brodeur denied Elijiah Barriga’s effort, he was unable to prevent the Stars Swedish forward from scoring on the rebound, with only 30 seconds left in the period and that set Dundee up well to close out the match in the final 20 minutes.
It would be no easy task for the Stars as Manchester threw everything at them in the third session and they eventually found a breakthrough, when Cole Carter charged from his own end of the ice, right through the Dundee defences and buried his shot past Svensson, on 47 minutes.
With only one-goal in it, the Storm had a new lease of life and began to hold the home side back into their own end, although Dundee were not up for letting their lead go and bravely blocked and fought for every puck.
A defiant performance ensured they were still ahead as the game reached the final minutes and their hard work would be rewarded as Johan Eriksson looped his shot over Brodeur to make it 3-1.
With just over four minutes left on the clock, Manchester needed to produce something special and despite having most of the possession and swapping their goalie for an extra attacker, they would come up short.
The Stars have closed the gap on the seventh-placed Storm to just six points and still hold games in hand on Glasgow Clan (8th) and Fife Flyers (9th), but they need to keep up the must-win attitude down the final stretch of the season.
Man of the Match
Dundee: #28 Anton Svensson
Manchester: #21 Zach Sullivan
1-0 Carter Folk (Ryan Verrier, Johan Eriksson) 04:22 PPG
2-0 Hugo Reinhardt (Elijiah Barriga, Philippe Sanche) 39:29
2-1 Cole Carter (Zac Herrmann) 47:33
3-1 Johan Eriksson (Carter Folk, Drydn Dow) 55:32
All images: Derek Black.