TRADE-MART DUNDEE STARS 2 BELFAST GIANTS 3 OT
The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars hosted Belfast Giants on Saturday night in their second of back-to-back matches with the Northern Irish outfit and once again got off to a good start.
By Kris Smith
Despite losing forward, Ben Sokay to injury and playing on without two-way forward, Jonathan McBean, the Stars were 1-0 in just two minutes as they converted some early pressure into a lead.
Dundee defenseman, Ryan Verrier was perfectly placed to step into a loose rebound that sprung out towards the blue line and the American drove his shot low past Jackson Whistle.
The home side were then banging on Belfast’s door looking for a second but Whistle was not up for allowing anything else past him and tensions also started to boil over as the Stars whacked away at loose pucks under Whistle.
After a few scrums and handbags a few penalties were eventually handed out but Dundee would benefit as moments before, a high-sticking foul by Scott Conway put the Stars on a four-minute powerplay.
Neither side would be able to utilise the man advantage in the opening period and it would end with the Stars still one goal in front, but they had controlled the game so far and forced the Giants to change their tactics, to a more physical approach.
In the second, Adam Keefe’s side started to comeback in to the game but Dundee were playing shutdown defence and hard an answer for everything the Giants came up with, but the home side still had a tight grip on the game and were working Whistle hard to keep the lead at 1-0.
Jeff Mason’s men created break after break but just failed to find the final pass or get the vital shot off that would give them a more comfortable cushion and the were not afraid to fight back against the visitor’s physicality, which led to more tempers flaring.
However, it all came down to the final period and the Stars were quickly made to pay for not taking their earlier chances as the Giants cashed in a massive chunk of luck, when Will Cullen’s attempted dump of the puck into the corner, defelcted off Craig Garrigan’s glove and ended up going goalward.
With Svensson already looking into the corner, waiting for the puck to drop, it bounced just in front of his goal and gave him no time to react as it dropped into the net, on 43 minutes.
The game then intensified as both side’s fought for control of the tie and the next goal, but Dundee would take another deserved lead in the 56th minute, as after a number of chances were kept out by Whistle, Elijiah Barriga corralled a loose rebound before skating it around the goalie.
Although, the Giants did not give in and with two minutes to go, they tied the game again but this time it was Steve Owre who got on the end of Scott Conway’s cross-goal pass and turned it home.
Overtime was then required to decide a winner and who would get the extra point, but once again the home side dominated but were left unrewarded for their efforts, as after numerous waves of attacks that had all been shutdown by Whistle.
With less than a minute left in extra time, the Giants finally got a two-on-one break, where Lewis Hook and Owre made the fatal move that secured Belfast’s second win of the weekend over Dundee.
The Stars deserved much more than a point but it has padded their gap between the bottom two side and the final playoff spot, the Stars currently occupy, but next weekend they welcoming Coventry Blaze before facing fellow playoff hopefuls, Glasgow Clan on the road.
Man of the Match
Dundee: #19 Elijiah Barriga
Belfast: #9 Ben Lake
1-0 Ryan Verrier (Elijiah Barriga, Philippe Sanche) 02:03
1-1 Will Cullen (Unassisted) 43:48
2-1 Elijiah Barriga (Erik Näslund, Philippe Sanche) 55:55
2-2 Steve Owre (Scott Conway) 57:56
2-3 Lewis Hook (Steve Owre) 64:10
All images: Derek Black.