SHEFFIELD STEELERS 2 TRADE-MART DUNDEE STARS 1
The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars made their final regular season visit to Sheffield Steelers on Wednesday night and they were in desperate need of a victory to keep their hopes of making the playoffs alive.
By Kris Smith
The Stars were icing without two of their Swedish forwards as Johan Eriksson and Romans Semjonovs both missed out due to injury, but Jonathan McBean returned to the line-up.
Sheffield were quick to set up their attack in the Dundee defensive zone and test the Tayside team early but they were unable to get ahead early, which allowed the Stars to come back at them and slowly edge their way into the game.
After killing off the game’s first penalty, the Stars then converted on one of their many chances as they began to get on top of the game and Philippe Sanche put them ahead on 12 minutes.
Dundee defenseman, Ryan Verrier took possession in the corner and fed the puck into the skates of Sanche, who set himself before firing past Matthew Greenfield.
Jeff Mason’s men continued to create some dangerous chances and could have increased their lead before the end of the opening period but they could not find another route past Greenfield and remained 1-0 ahead after the 20 minutes.
In the second period, Dundee had to fend off another Steelers powerplay that spanned across the break but they did so comfortably and were limiting the English side’s opportunities well.
However, the Steelers finally found an equaliser in the 36th minute when Robert Dowd redirected Sam Jones’ lofted shot past goalie, Anton Svensson and that killed off all the momentum the Stars had built up.
Although, a late penalty against Tomas Pitule for boarding Dundee’s Craig Garrigan gave the visitors a chance to regain their lead with a late powerplay that would extend across into the third period.
The match would still be tied as the Stars also were unable to capitalise on the man advantage but a powerplay goal would prove to be the winner and it was scored in the 53rd minute.
With Dundee’s Carter Folk in the sin bin for boarding, the Steelers took 37 seconds to score what would be the eventual winner, as Brendan Connolly batted a loose puck out of mid-air past Svensson, after the Swedish netminder had denied the first few attempts from the Steelers.
The Stars pushed back late on but would see their chances of drawing level crippled by another boarding penalty in the 57th minute, this time Ben Sokay being punished.
A second consecutive 2-1 loss for Dundee and another game where they were deserved at least a point for their efforts but time continues to run out for Mason’s men.
Next up for the Stars, they face Coventry Blaze in a double header with Dundee traveling to the West Midlands on Saturday before then hosting Danny Stewart’s men on Sunday.
Man of the Match
Dundee: #10 Philippe Sanche
Sheffield: #63 Brendan Connolly
0-1 Philippe Sanche (Ryan Verrier, Jonathan McBean) 12:24
1-1 Robert Dowd (Sam Jones, Scott Allen) 35:50
2-1 Brendan Connolly (Robert Dowd, Scott Allen) 52:36 PPG
All images: Dean Wooley.