TRADE-MART DUNDEE STARS 1 NOTTINGHAM PANTHERS 2
The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars faced Nottingham Panthers in a must win home game on Sunday night at the DIA and both points were required to keep their hopes of reaching the playoffs alive.
By Kris Smith
The Stars stuck with Welsh netminder, Brython Preece between the pipes after a good performance from the 25-year-old in Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to Guildford Flames and two-way forward, Ben Brown returned to the line-up.
The Stars got off to a quick start and got themselves in front after only two minutes when Elijiah Barriga turned the cross-goal pass from Philippe Sanche past Alex Dubeau and that gave the home side the big boost they needed early on.
The Panthers also had some early chances but were not able to find many clear routes to goal as the Dundee players put their bodies on the line to block shots.
There would be no penalties in the opening period and there was plenty of high-scoring chances at either end but the score remained at 1-0 going into the first break, but as the buzzer sounded, Nottingham’s Michael Hammond came together with Sanche and cross-checked him in the back.
After a gathering around Hammond, he slashed the stick of another Dundee player and was then assessed a minor penalty for slashing by referee, Andy Dalton and that gave the Stars a powerplay to start the second period.
Although, despite a few close calls, Dundee were not able to extend their lead whilst on the man advantage and the rest of the middle stanza saw both teams go back and forth on the attack as they searched for the pivotal next goal.
Corey Neilson’s side were putting the Stars under a lot of pressure late in the period but eventually, Jeff Mason’s penalty killing unit were finally called into action inside the final two minutes of the second session after Barriga was penalised for high sticks.
It took Nottingham only 13 seconds to convert on the man advantage, as Adam Brady lifted his frist-time shot high over the shoulder of Preece from between the circles and that gave the visitors a massive momentum boost.
In the third period, Nottingham had more time in the offensive zone than the hosts but both sides were still generating a number of scoring chances that both Preece and Dubeau did well to stop.
However, the Stars discipline nearly cost them as they had to kill off two penalties late in the game but that had only allowed the Panthers to get some momentum behind them and with just less than three minutes to play, Kelly Summers fired a long-range shot that found the back of the net to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage.
Dundee then threw everything at it but could not break down the English club’s defences and it went all the way to the wire, until two penalties inside the final minute killed the Tayside team’s hopes of finding a leveller.
With only eight games left in the season and only three on home ice, it is now or never for the Stars as they next face Sheffield Steelers on the road, this Wednesday and look to repeat the 2-1 victory they had at the Utilita Arena in October.
Man of the Match
Dundee: #19 Elijiah Barriga
Nottingham: #2 Michael Caruso
1-0 Elijiah Barriga (Philippe Sanche, Hugo Reinhardt) 02:48
1-1 Adam Brady (Matthew Myers, Michael Hammond) 38:31 PPG
1-2 Kelly Summers (Jeremy Welsh) 57:22
All images: Derek Black.