TRADE-MART DUNDEE STARS 3 MANCHESTER STORM 5
The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars began what could be a decisive weekend for their season at home against Manchester Storm on Saturday night and they needed a big momentum generating win to begin closing in on a play-off spot.
By Kris Smith
Only Romans Semjonovs and Ben Brown were missing from the Stars line-up but their would be some changes to the usual lines as forward, Ben Sokay was moved up to the first line, whilst defenders, Erik Näslund and Ryan Verrier swapped places with Näslund moving into the forward lines and the American back into defence.
The Stars came out with a physical mindset laying some big hits in the opening minutes but then took an early blow as one break of the puck in the Manchester end set the Storm up for a three-on-one attack, with only Craig Moore left between the puck and Anton Svensson in the Dundee goal.
Manchester’s Scott Simmonds waited as long as possible before pulling the trigger and his first effort would be blocked by Moore, but Simmonds quickly whacked in the second chance to put the visitors ahead after just 77 seconds of play.
Jeff Mason’s men were clearly left deflated after conceding early but eventually got themselves back into the game as the opening period wore on and inside the final five minutes of the stanza, they finally began to really test the Storm’s defences, who up until then had done a solid job of tying up Dundee’s sticks and clearing any danger.
Manchester netminder, Jeremy Brodeur was forced into a few key stops in the dying minutes of the period and he had been equal to them all, until Dundee blueliner, Cole Fraser stepped into Carter Folk’s pass just shy of the blueline blasted a first-time effort straight into the back of the net, in the 19th minute.
Matt Ginn would have been disappointed his side could not protect their lead until the end of the first, but they would soon regain the advantage in the second session.
Just four minutes into the middle period, Stephen Johnson tipped in the Dallas Ehrhardt’s rising shot and his deflection would send the puck in off the iron, as Manchester converted on their second powerplay chance of the game.
However, the home side again found a leveller as bang on 30 minutes, Ben Sokay poked home the rebound from Philippe Sanche’s low shot after he drove towards goal, with the Stars also on the man advantage as Cameron Critchlow was penalised for high-sticking.
The tensions between the two sides then began brew and there would be some handbags throughout the rest of the match, but just as the pair looked set to head into the final break still in a deadlock, the Storm stole a goal late to retake the lead once again.
With just 65 seconds left in the second period, Ehrhardt intercepted a pass in the Dundee end before testing Svensson, but his shot would be saved by Swedish keeper’s mask and Jonathan Desbiens quickly followed up to shoot home the rebound.
Although, as Desbiens fired the puck, Svensson lost his helmet whilst trying to make the save and that resulted in some appeals to the referees by Dundee, but all would be dismissed.
The third period then saw the Storm accelerate into a three-goal lead as in the 45th minute, Critchlow finished off a cross-ice pass from Cole Carter and then just two minutes later, they added a second powerplay goal.
With the Stars taken a penalty for too-many men on the ice, a long-range shot came in and bounced off the skates of Simmonds, in front of the Stars goal but the puck sprung straight into the path of Johnson, who applied the easy finish to make it 5-2.
The Tayside team were struggling to find a way back into the match and after a few close calls, they finally cut into the lead as Chris Lidjsman’s shot from just inside the blueline, floated past an unsighted Brodeur.
However, there was less than two minutes left to play and despite Dundee going for it, they were unable to find another goal that would start to get the Storm shaking and the English side would hold on to claim the 5-3 victory.
A disappointing night for Dundee left them still five points outside a playoff spot but still with enough games in hand to close the gap, as they head out on the road to face Nottingham Panthers on Sunday.
Man of the Match
Dundee: #6 Drydn Dow
Manchester: #12 Stephen Johnson
0-1 Scott Simmonds (Unassisted) 01:17
1-1 Cole Fraser (Carter Folk, Johan Eriksson) 18:47
1-2 Stephen Johnson (Dallas Ehrhardt, Liam Blackburn) 24:04 PPG
2-2 Ben Sokay (Philippe Sanche, Drydn Dow) 30:00 PPG
2-3 Jonathan Desbiens (Dallas Ehrhardt) 39:09
2-4 Cameron Critchlow (Cole Carter, Scott Simmonds) 44:06
2-5 Stephen Johnson (Cole Carter, Scott Simmonds) 46:52 PPG
3-5 Chris Lidjsman (Craig Garrigan, Ian Parker) 58:05
All images: Derek Black.