By Kris Smith
Stars were unable to retain the bragging rights in the final game against their biggest rivals this season, as Fife Flyers skated to a 6-2 victory on the road.
Joey De Concilys dropped out of the Dundee line-up while Omar Pacha came back in to replace the defenceman. Fife were without a few players as their injury troubles continued, Reece Cochrane, Ian Young, Evan Bloodoff, Andy Iles, Brady Ramsay and Chad Smith were all unavailable.
There were some good opportunities for both sides in the opening five minutes but neither team could get ahead early. Dundee’s Johan Andersson fired a big shot that was saved by the glove of Jordan Marr, but the goalie only got a small touch on it to keep it out.
There was then a short delay to the game, due to the fire alarm being set off, the players returned to the ice about twenty minutes later and after a quick warm-up, play resumed.
Fife used the break well and were creating fast attacks against Dundee. The tempo flatlined before Peter LeBlanc faked a shot then sent a pass through to Daniel Gauthier and he slipped the puck over the pads of Travis Fullerton at 9:01.
Some good forechecking by Malcolm Gould created a huge chance for Brian Hart, he released a quick slapshot but Marr held it well. Then a bad giveaway in front of the Dundee goal almost allowed the visitors to double their lead but a good pokecheck by a Stars defenceman cleared the danger.
Gabriel Lévesque and Liam Heelis both picked up minor penalties after an exchange behind the play and Lévesque was also given a minor which put Fife on the powerplay for the first time.
A good break by Stars ended with Omar Pacha almost tipping the puck past Marr. Then there was an excellent move by Adam Harding in the Fife end, as the Welshman weaved through the Flyers defence before firing a shot high into the shoulder of Marr.
Ricards Birzins collided with Cody Carlson and the officials deemed him guilty of kneeing and that put Dundee on the powerplay. However, their man advantage did not last long as Carlo Finucci created a shorthanded breakaway and Stars captain, Chris Lawrence tripped the Flyer. He sat for two and it would provide a short powerplay for Fife after the four-on-four action ended.
Stars had a great chance in the final minute as they worked the puck forward and Emerson Hrynyk was on the end of the move but his shot could not beat Marr and the first period ended with Fife still leading 1-0.
Dundee started the middle period off well, with another chance for Hrynyk in the first thirty seconds after the restart. Gould then missed the target as he shot from close range.
Fife were threatening to extend the lead, as Heelis went through alone but he failed to get his shot on goal and Fullerton quickly smothered the second chance. A great interception by Lévesque in the neutral zone allowed him to play Marc-Olivier Mimar through on goal and he beat Marr up high at 23:48, to level the score.
However, Flyers responded quickly as Heelis beat Fullerton narrowly on the far post at 24:24. Stars were gifted a chance to also respond swiftly as they gained a powerplay after Russ Moyer miss-timed his line change and Fife were penalised for having too-many men on the ice.
The Flyers goalie made a good save to deny Dundee on a 2-on-1 break before a delayed penalty against Fife allowed Stars to play with a man advantage for a while. Moyer was called for cross-checking to give the home team a third powerplay opportunity whilst just a goal down, although they failed to capitalise on some key scoring chances.
Hart had a good chance in front of goal but all he could do was force a kick save out of Marr, as did Pacha before Lévesque fanned on the rebound. At the other end, Jim Jorgensen’s slapshot was redirected by Chase Schaber and that put the Kirkcaldy side ahead 3-1 at 34:54.
Todd Dutiaume’s men were in top gear as Heelis put the puck in the back of the net moments later but the goal was ruled out as delayed penalties against Pacha and Shayne Stockton caused the play to be halted before the goal could count.
Lévesque was then penalised for holding the stick of Heelis but as the play was blown down, the Flyers forward delivered a high hit on Lukas Lundvald and both sat in the penalty box for two minutes. There were no more goals during the final few minutes of the second period but Fife ended the period on the powerplay as Lawrence was sent to the penalty box on a slashing minor with just eight seconds left.
Stars killed off the Lawrence penalty to start the third period before they had a few chances to get a goal back after multiple tips in front but Marr continued his solid performance in the Fife goal. Lundvald fired a quick shot from the top of the zone but the Fife goalie got his glove up to quickly deny the Dane.
Dundee continued to search for a way back into the game, as Lévesque was flying down the ice before he put the brakes on and fired a wrist shot that was saved by Marr, but the rebound was loose under the Fife netminder and the whistle went before anything could happen.
Fife grabbed a fourth goal when the puck sprung back off the boards behind the goal of Fullerton and Schaber was there to put it high past the Dundee goalie at 48:20.
Hart picked up a slashing penalty and that gave the road team a chance to extend their lead and that they did. Schaber bagged his hat trick as he beat Fullerton with a quick slapshot at 51:02.
Stars started to build pressure in the Flyers zone and Lundvald drew the attention of Marr before sending the puck to Jordan Cownie and he made no mistake in finding the twine at 52:59.
Heelis was ejected from the game with just over five minutes to play as he was given a match penalty for slew-footing and that put Stars on the powerplay for nearly the remainder of the game.
However, Carlson tried to start a fight with Stockton, who was not willing to go toe-to-toe with the Stars defencemen and he was thrown out of the game with just under three minutes left to play. Dundee pulled their goalie with a few minutes remaining but despite having the extra attacker, they still couldn’t beat Marr.
An empty net goal for Carlo Finucci gave the visitors their sixth goal at 58:16 and that sealed the points for Fife as they skated to a 6-2 win in the final meeting between Dundee and Fife this season.
Jordan Marr made thirty-three saves in his second excellent performance of the weekend and that earned him the ‘Man of the Match’ award for Fife, along with Dundee’s Marc-Olivier Mimar.
Stars playoff chances are now over, as all the results went against them on the night. It would take a miracle for them to earn a place in the quarter-finals but it has to be said, they gave it a hell of a go and never gave up on their dream.