By Kris Smith
Stars claimed their fourth point from four games, although were handed their fourth straight loss outside of regulation time in a 2-1 defeat last night.
The Kitmart Dundee Stars were unchanged all weekend with only the long-term injured Matt Bissonnette missing from their squad. Their opposition, the Nottingham Panthers did not ice Joseph Hazeldine, Alexander Guptill, Jon Rheault and Kevin Henderson.
Nottingham also learned on Sunday afternoon that head coach, Rich Chernomaz had been given a one match ban and £1000 fine for abuse of an official. Assistant coach, Rick Strachan took charge of the Panthers for the game.
Stars got a big chance straight from the off as François Bouchard received a pass in the slot but fanned on the effort. Stars then gained the first powerplay 21 seconds into game after an interference call against Tommy Hughes. Bouchard seen his shot saved by Michael Garnett’s pad as Dundee’s first chance on the powerplay was stopped.
Brian Hart was then denied from the doorstep of the Panthers crease and a diving Nottingham defender took the second chance away from Charles Corcoran. Drydn Dow had Stars last chance on their first man advantage, he fired back across the Panther goalie but Garnett was not fooled by the Dundee defenceman. Panthers returned to full strength before two minutes later going back on the penalty kill as Alexandre Bolduc tripped-up Lukas Lundvald from the face-off.
Stars were digging for chances in the offensive zone but the visitors managed to thwart any danger to their goal. After a brief stoppage, the Dundee powerplay unit could not get back into the Panthers end and the penalty was killed.
Rookie defenceman, Kris Inglis did well down the boards to evade checks from two Panthers and keep possession in the Nottingham end but Stars could not bury their chances. Omar Pacha’s men were given a third straight powerplay in the ninth minute as Brett Perlini was boxed for high sticks.
The closest Dundee got was when Bouchard fired over the Nottingham goal. Just after the powerplay expired, Bolduc got between two Dundee defenders and was in on goal but Lundvald hooked the Panther in the 11th minute to draw Stars first penalty. Nottingham struggled to complete their passes and that let down their entire powerplay effort as Dundee killed off the two-minute minor.
A good period of defensive play for Stars followed before Connor Cox’s shot from distance was gloved by the Panther goalie. Nottingham’s Robert Lachowicz drilled a shot from the slot that was stopped by Pontus Sjögren, the Panther followed up on his own rebound but it was swept away by a Dundee defenceman who was lying down across the goal.
Inside the 18th minute, Jordan Cownie skated through the Nottingham defence before seeing his backhanded effort gloved by Garnett. The teams could not be separated after 20 minutes but both would be happy not to be behind.
However, 26 seconds into the second period, Luke Pither fired a quick shot past Sjögren and the Panthers stole any momentum Stars had coming into the second. Dundee did not lose any confidence from the early setback as Fabrizio Ricci played the puck off the pad of Garnett and Cox was on the end of the rebound. He tried to finish into the top corner, only for his shot to be saved at the last second.
Lundvald was next to be denied, as the Dane’s shot was saved by Garnett’s shoulder on the 24-minute mark. Ricci found himself in the Panthers end again but seen his cut back pass blocked twice. A few moments later Dylan Olsen drove Dow hard into the boards and it caused a serious concern for Dundee as their defencemen left the ice for treatment and would not return. Olsen was ejected and received a five-minute penalty plus a game misconduct for cross-checking in the 27th minute.
Stars gained a five-minute powerplay and created some decent chances, Bouchard slung a pass to Marquardt but his first-time effort was denied before Pither suffered the same fate at the other end of the ice. Seconds before the long man advantage ended, Cox seen his shot from the back post denied.
A controversial moment followed the Panthers return to full strength as Garnett made the first save but the rebound went up in the air and Hart was there to bat it down past Garnett and into the net in the 32nd minute. Referee Steve Brown originally gave it as a goal before saying that it was not a goal and after a review, it was deemed illegal for the puck being stricken above the height of the crossbar.
Once again Dundee did not let it get them down, Corcoran showed some skill with a strong skate down the left wing before his shot was fired across face of goal. The intensity rose when some handbags and feistiness began to show, late in third.
Inside the final minutes of the second stanza, a bad giveaway by Cox was picked up by a lurking Panther who rattled the puck off the mask of Sjögren. Panthers continued to apply some pressure on the Stars defence but the home side found a gap and broke down the ice.
Lundvald was picked out in the Nottingham end and smashed his shot in off the post with 62 seconds remaining in the period, drawing them level at 1-1. With the seconds ticking down Corcoran almost put Dundee ahead but his shot was stopped before flying between the legs of Garnett.
Once again, the teams were even going into the intermission and that set up a tense third period. There were early chances for both sides but both defences came out on top. The first big chance came when a rebound dropped in front of Hart but he could not get it past Garnett. Hart was causing trouble for the East Midlands side again when he picked up a loose puck and passed to Lundvald, who waited out the sliding defender before shooting wide in the 45th minute.
Corcoran continued to cut open the Nottingham defence, he stole the puck, before weaving through the defence. He released a quick shot that was stopped by Garnett before the netminder, quickly snatched the rebound out of the air. A dangerous attack against Dundee in the final minutes went just wide after the shot was redirected. Dundee goalie, Sjögren made a big stop with less than seven seconds left to play and that would earn Stars a point.
It took just 73 seconds for Nottingham to win the game in overtime, a bad turnover by Dundee close to their defensive end allowed Mark Hurtubise to gain possession. The forward passed the puck into the low slot and Bolduc was on the other end of it and coolly finished into the Stars net.
Brett Perlini and Dundee’s Petr Chaloupka were given the ‘Man of the Match’ awards. Omar Pacha now has five days to prepare his charges for their only game of next weekend, they take on the Milton Keynes Lightning this Friday in Dundee.