The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars are on the road today as they visit Sheffield Steelers for the second time this season and look to keep their five-game point streak alive.

By Kris Smith

The Stars head into the Utilita Arena off the back a 4-3 comeback victory against Glasgow Clan last night and they battled back against their Scottish rivals, to take the win in overtime on home ice.

Dundee fell 1-0 behind in the opening minutes as Matt Barry snuck home a loose puck that was lost between some bodies, after Glasgow’s Darien Craighead’s initial attempt was blocked.

The Clan were on top through the opening 20 minutes but the Tayside team still had their chances, with Jake Elmer going closest as he watched his wraparound attempt sail across the face of goal.

Just 39 seconds into the second period, Craighead then doubled Glasgow’s lead after a miscommunication in front of the Dundee goal, where a shot hit the glass behind Kevin Carr’s net and the puck would pop out in front of goal.

Defenseman, Kris Inglis controlled the loose puck but he was quickly rushed by Reid Petryk, who poked it off of Inglis stick and into the path of Craighead, for him to lift home.

The Stars had struggled to find their feet offensively but soon put their woes behind them when they went on the powerplay at the halfway-mark.

With Glasgow’s Reece Kelly in the box for holding, Dundee cashed in on the man advantage via Ryan Valentini skating the puck around the goal and eventually finding Spencer Naas at the back post for a tap in.

In the third period, Naas then doubled up to tie the game in the 46th minute and this time Brendan Harms stripped the puck from Charlie Combs along the wall before picking out defenseman, Craig Moore who played a perfect pass under the stick of Cody Sol and Naas had the easy job of directing it into the net.



Sol would then exact his revenge at the other end, just moments later when Glasgow rushed forward and he screamed out for a drop pass from Gary Haden and the big blueliner used the traffic in front to screen Carr and beat the Dundee keeper on his left side.

However, the Stars would not be disheartened and hit back with another equaliser in less than a minute to make it 3-3, as Valentini was left unmarked at the back door and easily fired home the cross-goal pass from Harms.

No winner would be found in 60 minutes, so it would be a fourth trip into overtime in the last five games for Dundee but just over halfway through the five minutes of three-on-three hockey, Valentini put an end to it.

The Canadian picked up the puck in his own end and skated it straight up the ice before releasing a quick shot from just inside the blueliner, that flew over the shoulder of Antti Karjalainen to secure the extra point for the Stars.

Meanwhile, the Steelers were in Manchester and took a 5-3 victory, despite the Storm fighting back to make it 3-3 in the third period.

Johnny Corniel had the home team ahead just one minute into the match but Marc-Olivier Vallerand who even the score up before the break with a powerplay goal and then one minute into the second period, Josh Nicolls put Sheffield in front, before netting again on 28 minutes to make it 3-1.

Corneil and Zack Phillips then scored four minutes apart to level the score at 3-3 with less than 12 minutes to play, but Dominic Cormier put the Steelers back in front on 52 minutes, before Mikko Juusola hit the empty net to seal the victory.

Aaron Fox’s men have now won 17 of their last 18 matches and are currently 12 points clear at the summit of the league table.

This will be the Stars’ second trip of the season to Yorkshire, as they take on the Steelers for a fourth time in this campaign but they are yet to beat the league’s pacesetters.

On their last visit to the Utilita Arena, the Steelers would take a 3-0 win but they had no easy task as Dundee pushed them up until the final minutes and were unlucky not to find a way past Matt Greenfield on the night.



Speaking after last night’s victory, Stars Head Coach, Marc LeFebvre said: “Two points are two points.

“It was obviously not our best performance and you are not going to be at your best every night but we found a way to win and that will go a long way in the standings, so we will take it.”

Then discussing today’s trip to Sheffield, he continued: “It is a tough challenge but we know that and what we are getting into.

“We have to be disciplined throughout the whole game, whether it be in our structure or our systems and we have to stay out of the penalty box.

“They come at you in waves, we have seen them enough already this season to know what they are like and that they will be ready to go from the get go.

“There is probably going to be 9000 people in that building and it is going to be a good challenge for us at this mid-way point in the season.”



The Elite League’s leading goal scorer, Spencer Naas then added: “They are a really good team, especially when you are playing them in their own building, it is a tough game.

“So, we are just going to try and keep it simple, do what we do well and just try to give them our best fight and see what we can make happen.

“Their whole team is good, from forwards to defence and goaltending at the back, they are solid right across the line-up, so we just have to try and play our game and come at them in waves.

“We have four lines right now for the first time in a long time, so Kevin [Carr] will give us a chance to win like he always does and then hopefully we can contribute some goals at the other end but it will always be tough in there.”

Face-off for today’s road game in Sheffield is at 4pm.


All images: Dean Wooley.

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