By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars were unable to create a winning streak at the Motorpoint Arena as they went down 4-1 to the Nottingham Panthers.
Connor Cox returned to the line-up, leaving the indefinitely injured François Bouchard as the only name on Dundee’s injured reserve. Nottingham were missing the injured Dylan Olsen as well as Justin Kovacs, Joseph Hazeldine and Sam Gospel.
The home team failed to punish Dundee’s poor discipline in the early minutes with Johan Andersson and Lukas Lundvald serving minor penalties for hooking and too many men infractions. However, despite two good defensive displays from the Stars, Nottingham finally cracked the Dundee defence.
Jaynen Rissling fired a slapshot past a screened Pontus Sjögren in the ninth minute to give the Panthers the lead and three minutes later, Alexandre Bolduc doubled it. A review upheld the goal after the Dundee netminder’s pad save ricochets off of Bolduc and into the Stars net.
Omar Pacha’s Stars were quick to respond but a video review seen their fast reply disallowed. Although, the chance to find the net again came when Stephen Lee was penalised for holding after 15 minutes but the Nottingham penalty kill fulfilled their duty.
After 20 minutes, Dundee still trailed 2-0 and they could not start the second period in a better fashion. Sjögren was called upon early as he was forced into a pad save after Mark Hurtubise attempted a wraparound shot.
Dundee were then on powerplay again with Alex Guptill in the box for high-sticking but they failed to capitalise on the man advantage. Just after the halfway point, the Tayside team were in penalty trouble again as Matt Bissonnette and Fabrizio Ricci both picked up two minute penalties.
However, the Stars survived being down to skaters before giving up a third goal. Dylan Richard’s top corner shot fired the Panthers 3-0 ahead in the 35th minute. Again, the Stars were given a chance to hit back quickly on the powerplay but a kneeing foul by Lukas Lundvald cancelled out their man advantage.
Rick Strachan’s men were more clinical on their short powerplay and an unmarked Chris Stewart fired home into a gaping net from the backdoor on 38 minutes. Four goals behind at the second and final intermission, made the task of taking anything from the game near impossible for the Stars.
Matt Marquardt tried to fire his side up by dropping the gloves with Panthers’ Tim Billingsley at the start of the period but nothing would come off the back of it, apart from a few more roughing penalties.
However, with less than three minutes to play, just as a five on three powerplay for Dundee concluded, Brian Hart ended Patrick Munson’s hopes of keeping a clean sheet. Not being shutout was the Stars’ only bonus from the match.
A critical match lies in wait for Stars when they return home with little time to rest before facing the Manchester Storm this evening.