By Kris Smith
Dundee Stars returned to winning ways with an overtime victory against Nottingham Panthers, as they picked up points in an eighth straight game.
Dundee were at full strength while Nottingham were without Jon Rheault, Sam Gospel and Kevin Henderson
Stars fell behind early on as Alexander Guptill found Justin Kovacs all alone at the backdoor and he finished into the gaping net after just two minutes of play. Omar Pacha did not let the early goal affect his players, they went straight back on the attack and forced a good save from Michael Garnett but the Panthers goalie held on for a whistle.
The visitors quickly tied the game up in the seventh minute as Fabrizio Ricci’s shot flew past Garnett. Dundee were on the attack again following the restart but after the Nottingham goalie made another save, Stars were given the first powerplay.
Tim Billingsley was penalised for cross-checking in the 10thminute but the Tayside team were unable to capitalise whilst having the extra man. They went close to taking lead but Jordan Cownie’s quick shot was stopped by the glove of Garnett.
The home team took another penalty as Robert Farmer was punished for interference in the 16thminute. Again, Rich Chernomaz’s side killed off the two-minute penalty before Guptill used a Stars defenceman to block the sight of Dundee netminder Pontus Sjögren but the Swede was still able to deny the Panthers forward late in the first period.
Inside the opening two minutes of the second stanza, Matt Marquardt beat Garnett to give Stars the lead. Dundee looked to quickly build on their lead as Lukas Lundvald went close but his shot was kept out by the Panthers goalie.
At the other end, Sjögren kept his side in front with a good save on Farmer before the Nottingham forward returned to the sin bin on a cross-checking call in the 28thminute. The man advantage was again wasted by Dundee before they picked up their first penalty of the match. Jordan Cownie was given a two-minute penalty after committing a face-off foul in the 31stminute.
Stars had put the puck in the net but it was ruled out immediately by referees Tom Pering and Andrew Miller before a video review backed-up their decision. The visitors killed off the rest of Cownie’s penalty before Sjögren made a good save to deny Guptill again after Nottingham got forward on a two-on-one break.
However, moments later, Guptill finally beat the Dundee goaltender to tie the game at 2-2 in the 36thminute. Although, the score was not level for long, Marek Tvrdon struck the Dundee goal frame before Stars went the other way and re-took the lead through François Bouchard in the 38thminute.
Pacha’s men held onto the lead going into the final break and were gifted a fourth chance on the powerplay but were unsuccessful yet again. However, next it was the home team’s turn on the powerplay as Marquardt sat for two minutes on a delay of game call in the 48thminute.
Less than a minute later, Stars lost a second skater as captain Johan Andersson was called for tripping but Dundee defended well and soon returned to full strength. Nottingham equalised in the 57thminute as Sjögren made the first save on Guptill’s shot but the puck fell to Kovacs and he lifted it over the Stars keeper to tie the game at 3-3.
Overtime was required to separate the sides, Dundee were handed a huge chance to win the game as Guillaume Lépine received a two-minute penalty for tripping. He was also given a five minute and game misconduct penalty for spearing in the 63rdminute. Pacha’s powerplay needed to click and it did, Marquardt sent the puck past Garnett for his second goal of the night, nine seconds into the powerplay.
Dundee now must travel to Milton Keynes for their second game of the weekend as they aim to build on their winning start with a league fixture against the Lighting tonight before they visit Coventry Blaze on Sunday.
Photo: Panthers Images