By Kris Smith
Dundee did not get the start they wanted to their big home weekend, they fell to a strong and fast Giants side.
Belfast had two early opportunities but could not punish the home side early on. The Stars got an early powerplay chance when Cole Jarrett was penalised for interference in the second minute of play. Dundee had multiple chances but no luck as they could not beat Jackson Whistle in the Belfast goal.
Shortly after the penalty expired Adam Harding collided with Belfast defenceman, Jim Vandermeer, he required some medical treatment and returned to the Stars dressing room. A few minutes later, Malcolm Gould wrong footed Whistle to force a quick save from the Canadian netminder.
Adam Keefe’s Giants opened the scoring after a pass across the face of goal, dragged Travis Fullerton across with it but a pass by Colin Shields sent it to Sébastien Sylvestre, who poked it in despite a strong scrambling effort from the Stars defence at 8:53. Marc-Olivier Mimar was denied form close range quickly after the restart and Adam Harding had returned to the Dundee bench in the short interval.
Brian Hart and Gould worked hard to get the puck in fornt of goal but could not force the puck past Whistle. The Dundee goalie did not have the same fortune as Belfast go their second goal. Jarret fired the puck form the blueline and it was deflected twice before finding its way into the back of the net, Brendan Connolly was credited with the final touch with just 22 seconds remaining before the first period ended.
After the first intermission, play resumed and Belfast grabbed a third goal just 55 seconds after they had scored their second. Steve Saviano cut through the Dundee defence and flicked a backhander that slipped behind Fullerton and into of the goal at 20:33.
Dundee’s Gabriel Lévesque, Jordan Cownie and Mimar creted an attacking move and all connected well with their passes but Mimar could not finish the move at the backdoor. Dundee had another man advantage when Darcy Murphy was called by referee Pavel Halas for a tripping infraction in the twenty-sixth minute. Omar Pacha’s powerplay unit could not find the net as the penalty once again expired but they went straight back on the powerplay as Blair Riley charged down one of the Dundee skaters and received the minor penalty to match it. Dundee finally took advantage of the Irish sides ill-discipline to pull the score back to 3-1. A well worked move around the zone finds Riley Stadel who one-timed it and the puck trickled through Whistle and across the line at 47:32.
The Stars were once again put on the powerplay a few moments later as Brendan Connelly received a two minute slashing penalty in the thirsty-first minute. Johan Andersson almost reduced the Giants lead to a single goal as he fired high and wide on his own rebound after a quick move on the powerplay. The Giants hung on to kill off the penalty and took their first chance to restore their three goal lead. A bad giveaway form Dundee turned possession over in their own end and Shields punished the Stars for their mistake at 32:57. There would be no
change to the score before the second period ended and it gave Omar Pacha one last chance to get his side fired up and thinking about how to find a way back into the game.
The Third period started with the Giants extending their lead to 5-1 at 45:50, a loose rebound is shot goalward by Shields and the Dundee goalie could not get down quick enough to stop the puck from finding the open net. However Dundee answered back less than three minutes later, Hart dispossessed Belfast captain, Riley, then Gould picked up the puck and sent Hart through on the breakaway and he beat Jackson Whistle via the five-hole to make the score 5-2 at 48:05.
Travis Fullerton then made a huge save to deny the Giants of a sixth goal, he poked the puck away from Sylvestre who was on a breakaway. Belfast got their first powerplay in the fifty-fourth minute when Gould was penalised on a two minute slashing call.
However it was Dundee who got the advantage when they were awarded a penalty shot. Jimmy Jensen was hooked by a Belfast player whilst on a breakaway and Jensen would also take the shot. He skated right and cut back into the middle but his effort was denied by the blocker of Whistle. Justin Fox ploughed through a Giant to give the road team a 5-on-3 powerplay for a short stint but Dundee’s penalty killing unit held it together against an unenthusiastic Belfast powerplay unit. Time expired and it was the Giants who took all the points and murdered Dundee’s hopes of a four point weekend on home ice.
‘Man of the Match’ awards were given to Belfast’s Colin Shields and the Stars Malcolm Gould. The Stars return to the ice tonight when the Manchester Storm are in town and look to revive their hopes of a positive weekend. Face-off 7pm.