By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars picked up a single point from their only game of the weekend, where they were taken the distance by the Manchester Storm.
Both Lukas Lundvald and Matt Bissonnette were missing from the Stars line-up, while Storm were six players short, most notably including ex-Star Félix-Antoine Poulin. Although other ex-Star, Riley Stadel made his first appearance in opposition colours.
It was a slow start for both sides with little action or good chances being created. It took some while for either goalie to be tested before Dundee started to cause trouble in front of the Manchester net. Stars defenceman, Shawn Boutin caused some concern for the Storm defence after some good play by Stars to keep the puck in the offensive zone before Boutin’s shot was smothered by Matt Ginn in the Storm goal. Dundee were awarded the first powerplay of the game after a too-many men call was give against Ryan Finnerty’s side in the 10th minute.
Despite getting a few shots on target, none found their way past Ginn before the penalty expired, however a few minutes later, a shot towards the Dundee goal from Declan Balmer was tipped past the Stars goalie by Rob Linsmayer at 14:36. Moments after the restart, Pontus Sjögren was forced to dive out in front of his goal to cover up a loose puck and prevent a dangerous chance for Manchester. François Bouchard was creating some great chances for himself and his teammates but still nothing could beat the Storm keeper.
With just fourteen second left in the first period, Riley Stadel and his ex-teammate, Dundee’s Jordan Cownie exchanged a few shoves and words. Both were awarded two-minute delay of game penalties.
A low tempo first period seen the Storm narrowly edge into the lead but both teams needed to step-up in the second stanza. Sjögren made numerous saves early on to keep his side just one goal behind. Omar Pacha’s Stars were back on the powerplay after Harrison Ruopp was penalised for hooking in the 26th minute, although they failed to find an equaliser while on the man advantage.
Just after the halfway mark, Dundee’s Brian Hart was sent to the box for holding-the-stick of his opponent and despite a dangerous start to the powerplay by Manchester, they lost their advantage as Chris Auger picked up a tripping penalty. The game retained its tight score line after both penalties expired but both sides had good chances in the final minutes. Cownie got through on goal but lost control of the puck after a poke check by the Strom goalie, leaving the visitors still one goal ahead after two periods.
Dundee got the goal they needed as Drydn Dow linked up with Charlie Corcoran and Cownie to beat the Storm goalie at 45:11 and tie the game. Marquardt created a quick break for himself after the restart and almost put Stars in the lead, if it was not for the pad of Ginn, Marquardt also drew the penalty during the play as slashing call boxed Dallas Ehrhardt for two minutes in the 45th minute.
Dundee were unable to find a breakthrough, although their chances were boosted when Linden Springer was also called for slashing, giving Stars a short 5-on-3 powerplay. However, Manchester killed it off once more despite the intense pressure from the home side.
Dow was chasing down the puck when he was taken down by Declan Balmer in the 53rd minute, which led to another man advantage for Dundee but it was not a different outcome. The game entered the final minutes of regulation but still no clear winner had emerged. Jordan Kelsall took a late hit from a Strom player after the whistle and that sent him sliding across the ice and through the back of the Storm goaltender, no penalties were called by referees, Allan Ward and Toby Craig.
Overtime was required as both teams secured their first points in the league standings, it was a fast start to the extra period, Ginn denied a great opportunity for Stars before Sjögren replicated the action in the Dundee goal, which led to some roughing as Luke Moffatt and Dundee’s Dow were boxed. The same play occurred again this time after two key saves, it was Dane Byers and Stars’ Shawn Boutin who were penalised in the 62nd minute.
From all the penalties, Stars emerged on their seventh powerplay of the evening but still could not find the game-winning-goal. Penalty shots were required after it was still tied at 1-1. Jordan Cownie stepped out first for Dundee and was denied, as was Linsmayer. Corcoran and Stadel were both stopped in the second round and so were Marquardt and Marcus Basara. Bouchard missed his chance before Moffatt buried his to give the advantage to Manchester. Matt Ginn denied Boutin to seal the extra point and a shootout win for the Strom.
Ginn and Dundee’s Cownie were given the ‘Man of the Match’ awards for their outstanding performances. Omar Pacha now has just three days to prepare his side for a trip to Sheffield against the struggling Steelers.