By Kris Smith
Omar Pacha got exactly what he wanted, another solid defensive performance from his team as they saw off their Tayside rivals, Fife Flyers once more at the DIA.
Flyers lobbed a shot on Travis Fullerton’s goal early on but It was a comfortable save for the Canadian. Malcolm Gould sat for hooking in the second minute as Fife had ana early vchance to flaunt their strong powerplay. Dundee did well to kill it off and broke their opposition down.
Gould was released and quickly found himself in a shooting position, his hot created a risky rebound but Dundee pick-pocket the Flyers defenceman and Gould was gifted a second chance but his effort was met by the shoulder of Andy Iles.
A one-timer from Shayne Stockton was tipped wide by the Dundee goalie to keep the game scoreless and Stars almost got the lead when Joey De Concilys’ slapshot created a loose puck but Iles swiftly covered it up.
Fife got a second powerplay as Gould went back to the box for slashing but Dundee were once again strong on the penalty kill. Justin Fox went through on a breakaway but the Flyers netminder denied him once more.
A brilliant block by De Concilys cut out another Fife attack and that was enough to kill off the remaining time of the Flyers powerplay. Dundee were handed their first man advantage of the game when Ian Young was charged with interference in the Eleventh minute.
However, it was Todd Dutiaume’s men who took advantage of the situation, Evan Bloodoff stole the puck and went around two Stars defenceman before popping it over the shoulder of the Dundee keeper at 11:21.
A scramble on the doorstep of the Fife net as Iles was forced into making a double save but referee Neil Wilson stopped the play before Dundee can put it in. Dundee won the face-off and Riley Stadel unleashed a rocket from the blueline that flew past Iles to tie the game on Twelve minutes.
Another face-off win by Dundee seen the Fife goalie save the first attempt but Gabriel Lévesque was there to smash in the rebound at 13:01. Dundee went back to the powerplay but the away team were clearing their end well good, but Dundee were till a heavy threat and De Concilys flung the puck goalward, it went wide before bouncing off boards and Gould powered it home.
Fife were only dangerous on the powerplay but Omar Pacha’s tactics were spot on as they shut down their biggest rivals.
The home side were once again controlling play as a good chance for Marc-Olivier Mimar was blocked in the opening minute. Flyers went back on the powerplay but were overcomplicating their finishes and wasted a valuable opportunity to get back into the game.
Gould was lurking in the attacking end again as he rang a wrist shot off the outside of the post but Stars were cutting out nearly every pass Flyers made. Fullerton continued to make huge save after save and frustrated his opposition all game.
The Canadian then closed down a Fife marksman on the blueline to keep the lead at 3-1. Dundee were pulling the puck around every defender in their way but once they got to the net, no one could finish it and eventually the play was blown down.
The home side made it 4-1 and three powerplay goals as Jimmy Jensen’s shot hit a Flyer and was deflected past Iles. Dutiaume’s men had a response though, they started to comeback at Stars but they were still no match for the disciplined defence unit, never mind their red hot goaltender.
It cpuld have been 5-1 just before the second buzzer as Jordan Cownie was found in the slot a and he executed a skilful spin before shooting the puck but his shoit was met by down the pads of Iles.
Fullerton was once again there to backstop Dundee as the Kirkcaldy team picked up an early man advantage in the third period, but Stars once again defended well under all the pressure. Lévesque deked his way through the defence but was denied by netminder, yet he still drew the penalty and put Dundee on the front foot once more.
Unfortunately for coach Pacha there would be no more success on their powerplay and Fife had ramped up their revival efforts. Fullerton dealt with a number of difficult shots but yet he did not look troubled between the pipes, the same could be said for Andy Iles as he was still forced to make hard saves as he dove across his goal to deny Gould of a second goal.
The road team had been given their big chance as referee Wilson hit the Stars with continuous penalties which resulted in two 5-on-3 situations but Fullerton and Dundee’s penalty killers were defiant and remarkable once more as they blanked another set of Flyer’s powerplays in the dying moments.
Fife managed to bag a second goal to reduce the deficit to 4-2 after a puck trickled through to Liam Heelis and he tapped in at the open back door with 28 seconds left to play.
The outstanding Travis Fullerton was highlighted as ‘Man of the Match’ along with Flyers Chase Schaber.
Pacha will now take his men to Wales, as Stars gear up for their final attempt to pinch some more points off the current league champions, Cardiff Devils.