By Kris Smith
The Stars started their weekend off by taking two points from Friday night’s home win over Coventry Blaze as they emerged victorious after a shootout.
Dundee forward, Elijiah Barriga opened the scoring on 19 minutes, when he showed off his skills with a between the legs finish to beat Paavo Holsa, before Romans Semjonovs turned home a second on the powerplay to double their lead in the middle period.
However, the Blaze pulled two back before the end of the second as Garrett Johnston and Nathan Ripley drew the West Midlands club level, but the Stars looked to have won it after Barriga netted another whilst the Stars were on a five-on-three powerplay in the 51st minute.
Then with just over one minute left on the clock, Alexander Kuqali slung the puck towards the Stars goal and caught keeper, Anton Svensson off-guard and the puck slipped underneath his legs to tie the game.
After overtime was unable to decide a winner, four rounds of penalty shots would then settle the score as both Semjonovs and Coventry’s Colton Yellow Horn both failed to score in the opening round.
In the second round, Johan Eriksson and Jack Billings both hit the back of the net, but the following pair of shots saw Philippe Sanche score for Dundee, whilst Kim Tallberg failed to convert for the Blaze and Barriga then beat Holsa for a third time that night, as Svensson stopped Johnny Curran to win the extra point for Dundee.
Meanwhile, tonight’s opposition were also forced into a shootout last night as they netted a last-minute equaliser before beating Fife Flyers on penalties.
The Flyers had led 2-0 before Gary Haden and John Dunbar drew Glasgow level, and after Fife regained the lead twice more, Haden beat Shane Owen to tie the game on both occasions, with his hat-trick goal coming on the powerplay and with just 29 seconds to play.
In the shootout, there would be no goals in the opening five rounds, before both teams netted in round six and after two more failed attempts, Gabriel Chabot bagged the winner in round eight.
That result left the 10th placed Clan and ninth placed Flyers both on 19 points, just three behind the Stars but the Clan have played 35 games, compared to Dundee and Fife’s 33.
The Tayside team could also been missing a few players this evening after taking a number of knocks in Friday night’s win over Coventry and with forward, Ben Sokay missing the last two-games (upper body), he could be joined on the side-lines by Hugo Reinhardt after he left Friday’s match with an upper body injury.
Speaking after Friday night’s win. Stars Head Coach, Jeff Mason said: “I am extremely pleased, I really liked our effort tonight and thought we did a lot of good things throughout that hockey game, and I really liked our fightback at the end.
“It was a tough game for us, we lost some players to injury but guy stepped up and we were battling, it was certainly a commendable effort from them and I am happy we were able to secure the two points.
“Anytime you are playing teams below you, you want to keep them there and take the points to keep them down there.
“So, it is a massive game for us and last time we went in there, I really liked our game and thought we played quite well.
“I was disappointed in the game we played them at home but we did a lot of good things in that game as well, so it is about building on those things and our past performances at home, taking the energy and feeling from Friday into Sunday.”
With the Clan playing Thursday and Saturday, and the Stars having Saturday night off, Dundee forward, Craig Garrigan commented: “Having the day off in between Friday’s and Sunday’s game definitely helps with getting that rest but it also allows us more time to prepare for a big game against Glasgow.”
Face-off time for tonight’s road game in Glasgow is at 5pm.
All images: Al Goold.