TRADE-MART DUNDEE STARS 9 BELFAST GIANTS 2
The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars final game of the season saw them welcome Belfast Giants to Tayside, just 24 hours after they lifted the Elite League trophy for the third year in a row and both teams wanted to end the regular season on a high.
By Kris Smith
The Stars switched goalies as Anton Svensson went back into the crease, in place of Brython Preece, whilst the Giants dropped Tyler Beskorowany after his title clinching performance on Saturday night and went with Jackson Whistle between the pipes, with Andrew Dickson backing him up.
The Northern Irish side were a bit sluggish to start and Dundee were quick to capitalise on that as in only the second minute, Toms Rutkis opened the scoring with a tap in, after a smart pass from Ian Parker had taken Whistle and the Giants defence out of place.
Jeff Mason’s men then continued to hound the Giants net with shots but Whistle would be harder to beat, but at the other end, Belfast were up to their usual tricks and finding ways in behind the Stars back-line with numerous long-range and lofted passes.
Svensson had played well to keep out a few dangerous chances from the champions but they would finally sneak one past him to tie the game on 17 minutes, as Will Cullen’s backhanded effort slipped between the legs of the Swede and across the line.
Tied at one-a-piece after one period, the second session was a much different showing as the Stars got back on top and again they were quick to score, but their second goal would be a shorthanded one.
Goalkeeper, Svensson had put his side on the penalty kill after firing the puck out of play in his own end but despite being a man down, the Tayside team were the ones creating all the chances and in the 23rd minute, Elijiah Barriga put Dundee back in front.
The two teams then went back and forth for the rest of the middle stanza and the Giants continued with their plan to give everyone ice time as at the halfway point they swapped Whistle out for Dickson and he would play the rest of the match.
The Irish shot-stopper did well through his first few minutes but was unable to deny the Dundee captain, Drydn Dow from making it 3-1 on 37 minutes after a breakdown in defence gave the skipper a chance to move in on goal, pick his spot and then fire high into the top corner on Dickson’s blocker side.
Then just as the period was coming to an end, the Stars stuck in a fourth as Carter Folk deflected Craig Moore’s shot past Dickson with just 16 seconds left on the clock.
In the third period, Dundee continued their dominance with a third goal in the opening minutes as Cole Fraser made it 5-1 with a long-range strike that slipped through the Giants goalkeeper, in the 42nd minute.
The home side then hit six just four minutes later, as Philippe Sanche started a three-on-one break for Dundee and he combined with Hugo Reinhardt and Barriga, before Barriga bagged his brace with a quick release on the left wing.
David Gilbert then hit back for Belfast with their second goal of the night on 50 minutes, when Cullen played the puck off the blade of his stick, which was perfectly positioned to turn the puck past Svensson.
Although, the Stars would respond in just 29 seconds to make it 7-2 as Ben Sokay added his name to the scoresheet, as Folk slipped a pass between two Giants’ defenders for the Canadian to smack past Dickson.
Sokay would then hit the back of the net again, just three minutes later, this time beating Dickson from the slot between the two face-off circles and with less than four minutes to go, Jonathan McBean would add number nine.
The young forward showed off his skills as he put the puck between his legs and flicked it past Dickson for his second career goal in the Elite League and that rounded off a memorable night for the Stars fans as their season came to a close.
Man of the Match.
Dundee: #12 Jonathan McBean
Belfast: #55 Will Cullen
1-0 Toms Rutkis (Ian Parker) 01:44
1-1 Will Cullen (Ben Lake, Matt Foley) 17:21
2-1 Elijiah Barriga (Philippe Sanche) 22:23 SHG
3-1 Drydn Dow (Elijiah Barriga, Philippe Sanche) 37:52
4-1 Carter Folk (Ben Sokay, Chris Lidjsman) 39:44
5-1 Cole Fraser (Toms Rutkis, Ian Parker) 41:55
6-1 Elijiah Barriga (Hugo Reinhardt, Philippe Sanche) 46:10
6-2 David Gilbert (Will Cullen, Mark Cooper) 50:29
7-2 Ben Sokay (Carter Folk) 50:58
8-2 Ben Sokay (Carter Folk, Johan Eriksson) 54:00
9-2 Jonathan McBean (Johan Eriksson, Ryan Verrier) 56:26
All images: Derek Black.