By Kris Smith
Last night, the Stars let a three-goal lead slip and allowed Manchester Storm to sneak back in and take the two points after a shootout.
A fight in the opening minutes between Kyle Haas and Manchester’s Linden Springer, set the tempo for the night as both teams spent a lot of time in the penalty box.
Dundee were the first to capitalise on that opportunity as Spencer Dorowicz turned home the pass of Charlie Combs at the back post, on nine minutes.
Dorowicz then quickly added a second powerplay goal just four minutes later, as he was once again the man left open in front of goal and this time he took Sebastian Bengtsson’s pass past Jason Bacashihua in the Strom goal.
The home team still led 2-0 after the first 20 minutes of play and the Stars then swiftly made it a three-goal advantage, early in the second period.
Following a turnover by Manchester high up the ice, Combs combined with Philippe Sanche as the pair took the Stars forward.
Just 90 seconds after the restart, Sanche would eventually beat the keeper with a fast and rising wrist shot from between the circle.
However, that would be the end of the Tayside team’s dominance and Ryan Finnerty challenged his side to make the comeback.
As the match reached the halfway mark and with both teams down to four skaters, Tyson Fawcett was the first to strike for the Storm with a rocket of a shot from in the slot.
Despite many more penalties against each team, the score remained 3-1 in favour of Dundee after two periods, but in the third session, Manchester came out hard and quickly put themselves on top of the Stars.
Inside the 49th minute and with the visitors on a four-on-three powerplay, Austin Albrecht picked out Jarod Vanwormer as he drifted between the Stars defence, before turning the puck up and over the shoulder of netminder, Adam Morrison.
The game then entered the dying moments and the Storm became desperate for an equaliser, which is just when Frankie Melton produced a cheeky effort that caught the Stars off guard.
After rounding the net, Melton quickly released a sneaky wraparound shot at the near post, which snuck under the unexpecting Morrison to tie the game on 57 minutes.
The two teams were then deadlocked for the remaining three minutes and all the way through three-on-three overtime, with penalty shots needed to find the winner.
Goals from Adam Brady and Fawcett outnumbered the Stars lone strike from Sanche and that gave the Storm the extra point.
Now, Pacha takes his troops to the Motorpoint Arena for the final time in the regular season and they will have the shared goal of finishing what they started.
In two previous visits to Nottingham, the Stars have lost by just a single goal as they were beaten 2-1 and suffered a 5-4 overtime defeat.
However, they feel ready and confident of claiming both points from Sunday’s tie after they have beaten the Panthers twice in their last two clashes, with a 4-1 victory and 5-4 overtime win in Dundee.
In the last game, the Stars opened up a two-goal lead through Philippe Sanche and Bengtsson, before a Robbie Baillargeon doubled tied the score.
Dundee’s Spencer Dorowicz and Markus Kankaanperä then restored their two-goal cushion, but the Panthers pegged them back once again through Matthew Myers and Aaron Thow.
However, just 29 seconds into extra time, the Sanche bagged the winner for Dundee and since that night when the Stars ended Nottingham’s four-match winning run, they have now slipped to three straight losses.
The Stars are still likely to be without defenseman Michael Poirier and forward, Gabriel Desjardins as the pair remain on the injured list.
After making his big return to action last night, defenseman Kris Inglis shared his view on the team’s matchups against the Panthers this season.
He said: “Each game in Nottingham has been a great encounter with both teams putting on great performances.
“Coming so close on both occasions only makes us hungrier to come out of that building with the two points.
“So, if we stick to our game plan and execute like we have in recent weeks then I am sure that it will translate to a good result.”
Today’s face-off is at 4pm in Nottingham.