By Kris Smith
A short benched Stars slipped past a strong Storm side after coming back three times to take the game to penalty shots.
Dundee’s injury problems were still at large, as their squad was reduced to just seventeen players, the injury list expanded to include Adam Harding after he picked up a knock against the Giants on Friday night, he joins Anthony Mastrodicasa, Cameron McGiffin and Chris Lawrence. Chris Auger was the only player missing from the Manchester line-up.
The game got underway and after only three minutes, Luke Moffat was ejected for boarding Dundee forward, Jimmy Jensen who picked up a facial injury but returned to the game later on. Moffat received a 5+game penalty at 3:24.
Ryan Finnerty’s penalty killers were fine tuned to punish teams whilst shorthanded, Dallas Ehrhardt was the first to show the Altrincham side’s scoring ability when he beat Travis Fullerton at 4:12. Matt Beca would double the away sides lead at 5:05, as his effort found the net, also whilst shorthanded.
However Joey De Concilys quickly brought Dundee back into the game when his shot hit the back of the net at 6:39 on the powerplay. The Storm had two powerplay chances of their own but failed to make them count, Emerson Hrynyk and Shane Bakker also spent time in the penalty box as they received five minutes for fighting with one minute remaining in the first period.
The second period started with Dundee receiving a 5-on-3 man advantage when Gerard Hanson and Linden Springer were both sent to the box on wo minute minors. Although hitting the post was the most the Stars got out of their eighty second advantage.
The home team had so many chances but could not find an equaliser as it score remained 2-1 to the Manchester Storm, but Dundee were once again put on the powerplay after ex-Star, Paul Swindlehurst, was penalised on a holding call. The Englishman took exception and after some words were directed at referee Neil Wilson, he received a ten minute misconduct penalty for abuse.
Omar Pacha’s powerplay unit once again punished the Storm for their poor discipline, it was De Concilys again, with the equaliser at 30:06. He received the puck on the blueline and fired it through traffic before it beat Storm Goalie, Mike Clemente.
The Stars could have taken the lead when Justin Fox broke away but was tripped form behind however referee Wilson did not give a penalty shot, despite appeal from Dundee fans and player.
A turnover close to the blueline gives the puck to the Storm and it is passed straight down to Mike Hammond who was waiting in front of goal and he tucks it past Fullerton to put Manchester 3-2 ahead at 38:10.
Dundee’s injury worries grew when De Concilys had taken a knock and did not return to the game. The second fight of the night broke out between Swindlehurst and Dundee’s Johan Andersson, they exchanged blows but it ended with Andersson bleeding from the nose. Andersson returned to the dressing room for treatment and when he returned, referee Wilson ejected him for an illegal-equipment infraction. He received a game misconduct at 46:19.
Dundee went on to tie the score after a quick play out of the corner the puck somehow ends up in the Storm goal and it was originally credited to Justin Fox at 54:16. Despite an intense third period from Dundee, the Storm took the lead for the third time. A shot from the point created a loose rebound for Jay Rosehill to drag around Fullerton and he shot it past the sprawling goalie, to give his side a 4-3 lead at 58:00.
Stars head coach. Omar Pacha risked it all and removed his netminder in exchange for an extra skater and just as the Stars netminder stepped onto the bench, it was the head coach who found the net to tie the game with forty-four seconds left. The goal was reviewed by the referee but the call on the ice stood.
Coach Pacha had won his side a point as the game required extra time to find a winner. There was chances at both ends but no one could finish their chances. A quick break by the Storm late in overtime forced Fullerton to come out and poke the puck away. He won it but the puck was still loose and a second Manchester skater got a shot off but it went wide.
This would be the second time that the Stars and Storm would require penalty shots to find a winner, with Manchester claiming a win on home ice previously.
Ciaran Long and Malcolm Gould were sent out for their respective teams first, Fullerton stopped the Storm first before Clemente denied Gould.
Matt Beca and Dundee’s Justin Fox found the same fate in the second round with both failing to hit the target.
Scott Pitt and Riley Stadel were sent out for the third round, both teams best players for these situations and both did exactly what they had to do to keep their chances alive.
The order switched as the game went into sudden death, Brian Hart stepped out first for Dundee then Ciaran Long would go again, both goalies made the saves however.
Riley Stadel and Scott Pitt were both sent out again to do the same job and that they did. Marc-Olivier Mimar gave Dundee the edge once more as he beat Clemente from close range. It came down to Scott Pitt once more and this time Travis Fullerton got the better of him and claimed the extra point for Dundee. Mike Hammond and Stars head coach Omar Pacha were awarded the ‘Man of the Match’ awards.
Two points gained for Dundee would help expand the gap between the Stars and the Edinburgh Capitals who had lost 5-2 to the Braehead Clan, to keep them pinned to the foot of the table.