By Kris Smith
Stars were shutout by Nottingham after a close game where Dundee trailed early on but stopped the Panthers from running away with the score.
Stars were playing well and were unfortunate not to score in the opening minutes as a few efforts slipped wide of Patrick Galbraith’s net, meanwhile the Panthers were a constant threat to the Dundee goal, but Travis Fullerton and his defensemen were clearing away all the dangerous chances.
The home side were quick to start the physical play and showed a strong forecheck to force turnovers from Dundee and in the tenth minute, Luke Pither finally got the puck past Travis Fullerton after he deflected a shot by Yann Sauve at 9:41.
Stars have a lot of offensive firepower on their blueline and Omar Pacha fully utilised it as the defencemen were firing shot after shot at the Nottingham keeper, but the Dane was up to the task and was quick to create a few counter attacks for his own team.
Corey Neilson’s men started to put pressure on their opposition again as they had a some very good shifts in the Dundee end that culminated with Jeff Brown scoring Panthers second goal of the evening at 16:10, the goal was assisted by Raphael Bussieres and Eric Lindhagen.
Less than a minute later, Stars were the recipients of the game’s first powerplay as Lindhagen was guilty of a minor tripping penalty in the seventeenth minute. Dundee were unable to score with the extra skater and the period ended with Stars still trailing by two.
Pacha fired his side up as they started the middle period of play with some physical play of their own as they tried to force a swing in momentum. However, a powerplay for Nottingham in the twenty-sixth minute after Marc-Olivier Mimar was penalised for delay of game, meant all the momentum stayed with the home team.
Fullerton continued a strong performance by denying the Panthers on multiple occasions before his side killed off the penalty. Robert Lachowicz had a great chance to extend the lead to 3-0 but Fullerton made a huge save to keep Dundee in the game.
Stars were then denied at the other end by a diving block from Brown to stop the shot getting through to Galbraith. Brown was later sent to the box on an elbowing call in the thirty-third minute and that gave Stars their second powerplay chance of the night, but again they could not punish the Panthers.
Cody Carlson was given a double minor for tripping and cross-checking in the thirty-seventh minute and Nottingham had the chance to really hurt Dundee with a long power play chance. However, Fullerton robbed his opposition of multiple goals as the Canadian pulled off highlight reel saves continually, and his defencemen cleared the puck away.
Dundee made it to the end of the second period without conceding a third goal but had thirty-six seconds of penalty killing still to do before Carlson could return to the ice.
The Tayside team saw off the rest of the penalty with ease before Pacha was robbed by Galbraith after forcing a turnover in the Nottingham zone.
Fullerton then did the same at the other end as he produced a diving a stick save to deny Alexander Mokshantsev of what the Russian thought was an open goal. Stars were determined to get a goal as they were piling shots on goal but somehow the Panthers kept the puck from crossing the line.
Tim Billingsley was charged with cross-checking in the forty-ninth minute, but Stars went zero for three on powerplay’s that night. Mokshantsev found the net to put Nottingham out of reach with just 8:07 left in the game and that as enough to kill off any fight back from Dundee. The only other action was when Carlson and Sauve dropped the gloves in the final minute and the pair sorted out their differences.
The final buzzer sounded to confirm a 3-0 win and shutout for Nottingham in their first game against Dundee this season. Travis Fullerton collected Dundee’s ‘Man of the Match’ award for his outstanding performance in goal again, he made 33 saves on the night. Stephen Lee received the award for Nottingham.
Stars now prepare for a massive weekend where they take on Braehead Clan in a double header. First, a trip to Glasgow on Saturday night before hosting John Tripp’s men at the DIA on Sunday where every point is crucial in both team’s playoff push.
Photo: Karl Denham