By Kris Smith
The Kitmart Dundee Stars claimed their second win and a four-point weekend after defeating the Fife Flyers in back-to-back games.
Dundee were once again at full-strength while Fife went without Joe Basaraba and the suspended Brett Bulmer, he received a two game ban after an incident in Kirkcaldy last night.
Stars tested Shane Owen early but he froze the play. Pontus Sjögren managed to hold a powerful shot from a Flyers defenceman but the Swede had seen the shot all the way. The visitors continued to create chances but the Dundee goalie was not troubled, although some poking at the already covered puck resulted in some physicality in front of the Dundee net in the 7th minute. Owen received the first penalty of the game for interference after knocking the stick out of a Stars players hands. The resulting powerplay gave Dundee many chances and the first ended in a scramble in front of the Fife net but Owen eventually found the puck to cover it up. Despite Dundee creating offence, the Flyers killed the penalty well and the game remained even. Stars appeared to be the side that were edging closer to that opening goal late in the first period but the Fife goalie stood tall.
Todd Dutiaume’s Flyers got their first powerplay as Connor Cox was penalised for cross-checking in the 15th minute. Sjögren had picked up from where he left off last night and continued to be solid in between the pipes for Dundee. Stars had just killed off Fife’s powerplay but were back on the penalty kill after Fabrizio Ricci fired a puck out of play in the Stars defensive end, meaning he sat for two minutes on a delay of game call. Fife had the chances but could not find a way past Sjögren. A good break by Jordan Cownie in the final minutes seen him dash through the Flyers defence before his shot was saved and he also drew a hooking penalty against Rick Pinkston with seventeen second to play in the first period.
The overlapping powerplay was killed early in the second period but the Kirkcaldy club were back shorthanded moments later as Paul Crowder was penalised for roughing. However, it was the away team that capitalised as Chase Schaber played in Evan Bloodoff as he went clean through the Dundee defence on a breakaway. The forward quickly pulled up and lifted his shot into the roof of the net at 17:03. Omar Pacha was not happy to lose a goal while having the man advantage but he got a quick response out his team. A big shot from Cox on the blueline hit Cownie before landing in the Fife goal and just like that the home team were level at 24:09.
François Bouchard got in alone and had a good chance that was stopped by Owen, as the Stars confidence was boosted. In the 25th minute Danick Gauthier tried to prevent the Canadian from getting his shot away but instead was given a minor penalty for slashing, all before a cross-checking penalty against Flyers defenceman, James Isaacs, and that left Dundee with a two-man advantage for 34 seconds. It did not take long for Stars to take the lead, Matt Marquardt blasted home a loose rebound from the right circle at 26:29. Stars were hitting their stride around the halfway mark and continued to threat the Flyers goal as Lukas Lundvald skated into the offensive zone ahead of two chasing Flyers but was denied by Owen.
Pacha’s side were playing with a lot of momentum at their back and they kept getting shots away with large amounts of possession. An incident behind the paly left Carlo Finucci in the sin bin for slashing Dundee’s Petr Chaloupka and the Czech defenceman was not pleased as he engaged in an altercation with Evan Stoflet. All three were boxed on minor penalties but Stars were back on the powerplay, although were unable to take advantage before the conclusion of period two.
Jordan Buesa was penalised for slashing Bouchard in the 45th minute but Flyers seen out the two minutes with ease. Danick Gauthier found himself on a breakaway after a mistake by Dundee in the neutral zone but the forward was denied by Sjögren. Drydn Dow picked up a penalty for tripping in 50th minute but just after the penalty had expired, Buesa finished his chance well, as he put the puck in the Dundee net at 52:14 to tie the game.
After a long weekend for Omar Pacha’s men the tiredness began to kick in and they were in trouble when Dow picked up another tripping penalty with just four minutes left to play. Ricards Birzins had a big chance on the powerplay but he sent it miles over the bar. Stars managed to kill off the penalty but Fife were pushing for the winner. There was stoppage as Shawn Boutin and Fife’s Crowder exchanged words after a hit behind the play.
With just 1:38 remaining in the clock, it was Dundee’s biggest chance to steal all the points but they lacked the energy to set-up any dangerous plays.
The game required overtime to decide a winner and Dundee still had a few seconds remaining on their powerplay but were unable to find a winner. Fife had the best chance after a bad giveaway in front of the Stars goal but the Dundee keeper made an excellent save. The Swede kept it out with the his leg as he sprawled out in front of the goal, at the other end, Marquardt went one-on-one with Owen but his effort was also stopped. With no winner emerging in overtime, penalty shots were looming and soon enough they came.
Cazzola stepped up first for Flyers and he released a quick shot that beat Sjögren on his low blocker side. Chaloupka went first for Dundee but failed to hit the target.
Gauthier was next for Fife but he was denied by the pad of the Stars goalie, next up was Marquardt but he left the puck behind after attempting to fake out Owen.
Schaber took Flyers third shot but Sjögren made a good stick save to keep it out, Bouchard was then denied by the leg of Owen.
Bloodoff was sent out to finish things for Flyers but he lost control of the puck before he could get his shot away. Johan Andersson tried to tie it up at 1-1 but he also failed to hit the target.
Finucci had the chance to seal the win for the visitors but he was denied from the slot, before Charlie Corcoran beat Owen through the five-hole to send the game into sudden death.
The order was reversed and Corcoran stepped up again and beat Owen with the exact same move to give Stars the advantage, Fife sent out their previous scorer, Cazzola but he could not beat Sjögren for a second time and Dundee claimed their second win of two against their biggest rivals.
Evan Bloodoff and Dundee’s Drydn Dow were given the ‘Man of the Match’ awards. Stars now have a week to prepare for just a single game next weekend when the Manchester Storm come to Dundee.