By Kris Smith
Dundee welcomed back Justin Fox and Jordan Cownie to their line-up but Ben Edmonds, Kris Inglis and the injured Johan Andersson dropped out to join the almost fully-fit Lawrence and Mastrodicasa.
Milton Keynes were missing Luc Johnson, Glenn Billing, Samuel Godfrey and Edward Knaggs but still outnumbered Stars. Dundee have played just one game with a full line up this season and it was back in September in their 7-5 win over Fife.
Omar Pacha’s men defeated the Lightning 5-1 in Tayside and knew they could repeat such a performance to snap their six game losing streak.
It was the home side who opened the scoring after just 1:45, Matt Nickerson’s slapshot beat a screened Fullerton. Four seconds later Emerson Hrynyk was sent to the box on an interference call and that set-up a powerplay goal for Guillaume Doucet as he doubled the home sides lead at 2:45.
The lightning were looking very dangerous and showed their ability once more as Kyle Essery ripped a one-timer past the Stars’ goalie at 5:07. Stars took a timeout and from it Dundee got their first real opportunity but Brian Hart’s shot was saved by Miika Wiikman.
Nickerson was next to sit in the box on a high-sticking infraction but Dundee couldn’t pull one back before the man advantage expired. Fullerton then denied a quick break as Stars were looking the better of the two teams but another quick break was finished off by Francis Verreault-Paul on the doorstep at 14:15.
The lightning controlled the opening period as a once again short-benched Stars were behind early on.
There was a few chance for both teams at the start of the second period as Dundee got an early power play after Lightning captain, Kevin King was penalised for interference. Dundee once again could not capitalise on the power play, despite a shorthanded chance for Lightning.
But a ten minute delay just before the mid-way point allowed both teams to recharge, as Linesman, Sam Motton, was wiped out after being caught in check by a Dundee player. He appeared to have sustained a head or upper-body injury as medics took their time to assess and safely move the official.
Eventually the game restarted with the referee and remaining linesman changing to a two-man system, promoting the linesman to a referee. Stars almost got off the mark but Wiikman was there to deny them after the restart.
Pete Russell’s men then had a huge opportunity to extend their four goal lead as they got a 5-on-3 powerplay for over a minute. Joey De Concilys sat for two minutes for hooking and Hrynyk again for interference.
Omar Pacha’s penalty killing unit did the job this time and started to build some pressure against the home side, however they still could not beat an in form Lightning goalie before the second stanza ended.
A small disagreement between Doucet and Stars’ Riley Stadel meant that they would both sit for two minutes each on cross-checking penalties to start the final period. Dundee were trying to make the best of 4-on-4 situation but still could not beat Wiikman.
They were back on the back-foot after player-coach Pacha was charged with slashing in the forty-fourth minute. Doucet was taken aside by Justin Fox as they dropped the gloves and Fox is the only one to land punches. A quick uppercut sent the Milton Keynes player down to one knee before the officials stepped in before Fox was ejected after receiving two minutes for slashing, five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct.
This put Milton Keynes back on the powerplay, a double save by Fullerton helped to keep out them out as Dundee manged to kill off the powerplay. A huge hit from behind on a Dundee player sparked a second fight as Jimmy Jensen took on Verreault-Paul, the pair traded heavy blows.
But it was Jensen who fell to the ice after a tug by the Lightning player who continued to punch the Swede in the back of the head several times, whilst he lay face down on the ice. Verreault-Paul had been suspended for one match after sucker-punching De Concilys twice in the last meeting between the sides.
Stars went on a five minute powerplay after Verreault-Paul was given game penalty for an illegal check to the head. Brian Hart robbed Wiikman of his shutout as Dundee pulled one back at 51:38.
Lightning killed off the remaining minutes and came back stronger as they turned up the heat, Essery picked up a cross-checking penalty but still Dundee could not swing the momentum in their favour.
There was another stoppage as Jensen is hit and some blood spilt onto the ice but he was okay. Fullerton was pulled in the final two minutes, Milton Keynes hit the post then the side netting but Tommy Mele found the empty net at 58:34.
Travis Fullerton and Kevin King were selected as the ‘Man of the Match’ winners as both teams have had a long drive up to Scotland for today’s games. Dundee face Manchester Storm who fell 6-4 to Belfast Giants on home ice last night and hope to spark another string of huge performances.