By Kris Smith
Stars would face Sheffield for the last time in the regular season as they looked to continue their good form against the league’s top sides but Paul Thompson’s men proved too strong for the Stars once more.
The game’s first clear cut chance went the way of the visitors as Mathieu Roy broke away but his backhand effort was saved by Travis Fullerton. At the other end, a quick shot from Riley Stadel was also saved as Ervins Mustukovs tracked the shot well.
Stars then had the puck in front of goal but couldn’t control the puck. Steelers broke once more but Colton Fretter’s shot went straight across the crease as he tucked it behind the Dundee goalie. Sheffield put the pressure on Dundee’s short defensive unit but they held on to keep the game scoreless.
Stadel quickly moved across the Steelers blueline but his shot was saved and redirected into the glass, which led to a quick Sheffield attack but it was halted when David Phillips was sent to the box for Slashing by referee Pavel Halas, which put Stars on the game’s first powerplay.
They had one great chance at the backdoor but the Dundee forward could not connect with it. Fullerton then gloved a shot from Levi Nelson but dropped it right onto the stick of Robert Dowd, who fired it into the net instantly at 12:05.
Dundee could have quickly equalised as they once again went on the man advantage but a slashing penalty against Stadel made it a 4-on-4 situation that no team took advantage of. The Yorkshire club went back on the defensive as Dowd sat in the box for hooking, Jimmy Jensen was set-up for a one timer but his low shot was met by the pad of Mustukovs.
The visitors killed of Stars man advantage before picking up one of their own that would carry over into the second period as Emerson Hrynyk was penalised for charging.
Dundee killed off their penalty to start the middle stanza and had some good chances in the zone after some quick interceptions but they fail to hit the target. Their lack of clinical finishing allowed the Steelers to collect the rebound and move forward.
Mark Matheson beat Fullerton through the five-hole to double his sides lead to 2-0 at 24:37. A quick goal for the Steelers after the restart came as Hrynyk was knocked over from behind. Before two Steelers broke into the zone, one tied up the last Stars defenceman and the other tucked it home on the twenty-five minute mark.
Paul Thompson’s men made it 4-0 before the final break after a tip in front by Tim Wallace directed the puck down through the legs of Fullerton, after a quick review the goal was given. Dundee got their fifth powerplay of the night but it was Fretter who found the net whilst shorthanded as he fired a backhanded shot over the shoulder of the Stars goalie at 39:08 to extend the lead to 5-0 before the end of the second period.
Craig Holland led Stars out for the third period as he would play the final twenty minutes in goal. A hungry home side were getting the better of the chances but Sheffield quickly destroyed any momentum that Omar Pacha’s side had created.
Nelson’s one-timer went straight through the five-hole of Holland at 43:45, extending the score to 6-0. Dundee were trying desperately for a goal but Mustukovs continued to deny them of any consolations.
However Malcolm Gould skated through the middle and into the zone before flicking a wrist shot from the top of the slot that flied past the Steelers goalie into the top corner, pulling it back to 6-1 at 46:19. The away side tried to find another gear to prevent any miracle comebacks and were looking dangerous on the attack as they forced a double save form Holland.
But Dundee’s ‘never say die’ attitude pulled another back as Joey De Concilys arrived late in the middle of the slot and received a pass form Jensen, firing into the gaping net at 48:40. John Armstrong slapshot was gloved by Holland before he tipped Cole Shudra’s shot onto the post.
When the Steelers regrouped, he had to make a series of saves but Armstrong was in the right place to get on the end of a rebound and tucked it past the down and out Holland. He had restored his side’s five-goal lead, making it 7-2 after 58:38.
Dundee were once again short benched as their injury problems continue to lower their chances but were no match for what has proven to be a rampant Steelers side that will be battling for the league title all season.
Levi Nelson and Craig Holland were the chosen ‘Man of the Match’ winners. Dundee now have to prepare for an away double-header as they travel to Surrey to face Guildford Flames once more on Saturday night. Then they will cross the border into Wales and take on the current league champions, Cardiff Devils, who will want redemption after defeat in Dundee two weeks ago.