NOTTINGHAM PANTHERS 1 TRADE-MART DUNDEE STARS 5
The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars were on the road against Nottingham Panthers on Wednesday night as they searched for two points to keep their hunt for a playoff spot going.
By Kris Smith
The Stars regained defenseman, Kris Inglis to the line-up but lost fellow blueliner, Chris Lidjsman to illness and he joined the injured Swedish forward, Romans Semjonovs in missing out.
Jeff Mason’s side wanted to make a quick start and play with the lead on their final visit to the Motorpoint Arena and they did just that as Johan Eriksson fired them ahead on four minutes.
Dundee defenseman, Ryan Verrier slung a late pass across the face of goal and it found the stick of Eriksson as he was parked on the edge of Alex Dubeau’s crease, where he turned it home to open scoring.
The Tayside team then kept the pressure on would double their lead in the 13th minute, when Eriksson was bearing down on goal again and his shot would be partially stopped by the Panthers goalie before trickling out behind him for Ben Sokay to tap in the loose puck.
The Stars had kept a good amount of control in the first period and had led the play well but when Nottingham recieved their second powerplay chance of the period, Tanner Sorenson cashed in with 48 seconds left on the clock.
With Dundee’s Craig Moore in the box for a slashing foul, the home side built up the play before finding the back of the net as they played a series of quick passes and eventually one combination found Sorenson on a swift side-to-side move and he rifled past the diving Brython Preece.
In the second period, Dundee kept the pressure on and straight away extended their lead on 24 minutes, when Philippe Sanche played Hugo Reinhardt through on a breakaway.
The Swedish forward would see his first attempted saved by Dubeau but he reacted quickly to control the puck and chip it back over the Nottingham netminder as he tried to make the second save on the left post.
Corey Neilson’s side could have fallen three goals behind when ex-Stars captain, Fabrizio Ricci was sent to the sin bin for tripping, inside 28 minutes but the Panthers penalty killing unit kept them withing a two-goal range.
Both goalies then went on a run of producing top save after top save, keeping the game close as Dubeau made numerous multi-save plays to keep the Stars out and left Dundee baffled to how their lead had not been extended.
At the other end, Preece had been flying from side-to-side to deny the quick switch plays from the Panthers, but the English side came close to cutting the difference down to one when one effort struck off the crossbar and then went back towards goal after coming off the rear of the Welsh keeper, although it would run wide.
Just as the second stanza was coming to an end, Dundee made a late push and managed to add a fourth goal in the 40th minute, with Sokay adding his second of the night.
The Canadian forward got in close on goal but was unable to beat Dubeau with his first effort, however he quickly fired the puck back in and it would slide under the Panthers keeper to make it 4-1.
In the third session, the home team came out swinging and were trying their hardest to hunt down a route back into the game but even as they put Dundee under heavy pressure, Preece and his defence stood firm.
With less than 10 minutes to play, the Scottish side were pushing their way forward again and looking to put the game to bed.
In the 54th minute, in-form forward, Sanche bagged the goal that would secure a massive two points for Dundee and once again boost their momentum in the chase for a playoff spot.
After fending off a dangerous attack from the Panthers, the Stars made a quick move forward where Reinhardt picked out his linemate with another cross-goal pass, which gave Sanche an easy finish past Dubeau on 54 minutes.
Mason’s men saw out the rest of the time to confirm their third victory in the last three games and that has now reeled them into just six points outside of the playoff spots, with two games in hand over the current occupiers of the final spot, Glasgow Clan.
However, no easy task lies ahead for the Stars as they face Guildford Flames in back-to-back games this weekend, starting off in Dundee where they face the side from Surrey that are locked in a battle for the league title.
Man of the Match
Dundee: #44 Brython Preece
Nottingham: #73 Tanner Sorenson
0-1 Johan Eriksson (Ryan Verrier, Ben Sokay) 04:24
0-2 Ben Sokay (Johan Eriksson, Carter Folk) 12:37
1-2 Tanner Sorenson (David Levin, Jeremy Welsh) 19:12 PPG
1-3 Hugo Reinhardt (Philippe Sanche, Brython Preece) 24:14
1-4 Ben Sokay (Carter Folk) 39:28
1-5 Philippe Sanche (Hugo Reinhardt, Elijiah Barriga) 54:24
All images: Panthers Images.