By Kris Smith
Dundee hoped to repeat their previous result the last time Manchester visited the DIA when they beat them 5-4 on a shootout. Manchester would need to find a way to overcome the short benched Stars that have robbed them of three points this season.
Ben Edmonds was on international duty with Great Britain this weekend and Taylor Dickin was missing from the line-up last night as Dundee only had fourteen skaters to face the Storm. The away side were without Declan Ryan, Chris Auger, Lee Bonner and Andrew McKinney.
Manchester were quick to test Stars but could not get an early goal and after the play went back and forth, Dundee started to put some pressure on the Manchester defence. Stars got the first powerplay after Declan Balmer was sent to the box for interference in the fourth minute.
Riley Stadel set up Gabriel Lévesque who drifted closer before unleashing a quick wrist shot past Mike Clemente at 4:43, to give Dundee the lead. Storm got their first powerplays as a double minor for slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct against Lévesque put the road team on the man advantage in the ninth minute.
Matt Stanisz dropped the puck behind him to Dane Byers, who fired into an open goal at 9:21 to tie the game. Storm could have took the lead but a freak shot trickled wide of Travis Fullerton’s net, then a quick counter-attack by Lévesque led to his move fooling Clemente but the puck dropped in front and in swooped Jimmy Jensen to tuck it home at 11:49.
Lévesque went back to the penalty box on a boarding call in the thirteenth minute, which resulted in a goal after just twenty seconds on the powerplay, Mike Hammond was at the backdoor to knock in the rebound from Dane Byers’ slapshot and tie the game once more at 12:53.
Stadel had a chance to restore the lead as he pulled a great move but lost it and his second effort was gloved. Paul Swindlehurst picked up a charging penalty to give Dundee another advantage before the end of the first period but Stars could not capitalise before both the penalty and period expired.
There was early chances for both teams once more but none would find the net as the game got physical to start the middle period. Dundee were being creative but Clemente was there to deny each time, as was the Dundee shot stopper when Ryan Finnerty’s men asked questions of the Canadian.
Manchester started to come back into the game and caused a few scrambles in front of the Dundee net but it was dealt with by the defence. Justin Fox went close when he beat everyone including the Manchester goalie before overshooting the goal and losing possession. Stars killed an attack at the other end as three Dundee skaters got back to break up the play between two Manchester attackers.
Swindlehurst returned to the penalty box after tripping up Jensen in the thirty-fourth minute, Omar Pacha’s men had some good chances but could not find a lead as the man advantage
expired. After a quick shot was saved by Fullerton, Storm players asked a few questions but after a lengthy review, no goal was the decision form referee Neil Wilson.
A quick 3-on-1 break by Storm led to Matt Beca feeding the puck across to Scott Pitt and his shot trickled through the legs of Fullerton and across the line before Emerson Hrynyk could pull it back. The away side had a 3-2 at 38:54 and despite Stars going close they held the lead going into the final break.
The first five minutes of the final period were full of chances for both teams but the score would not change. Marc-Olivier Mimar pick-pocketed a Manchester defenceman and passed the puck to Stadel, who was waiting on the doorstep to knock it home, he tied the game at 45:53.
Stadel then took an elbowing minor and Ryan Trenz forfeited his side’s powerplay opportunity after picking up a roughing penalty at the same time. Pacha almost gave his team the lead but Clemente eventually covered the puck.
Mimar again intercepted a pass and moves forward and this time sets up Lévesque to put the home side ahead 4-3 at 9:48. Stars went straight on the powerplay as Shane Bakker was charged with charging in the fiftieth minute. The Dundee powerplay unit was quick to create an opportunity but Clemente snatched the puck out of mid-air to freeze the play.
There was a small delay after technical work was done to fix repeating issues with the Manchester net as the netminder kept knocking the goal off its moorings. Ryan Finnerty called a timeout with less than two minutes left as he tried to rescue a point from the match, by adding an extra attacker in exchange for goaltender, Clemente.
Storm looked dangerous but Adam Harding won the puck and lobbed it down the ice and into the net, making it 5-3 to Dundee with just one minute remaining and Manchester had nothing left in the tank as time ran out.
‘Man of the Match’ awards were given to Storm’s Dane Byers and Stars’ Gabriel Lévesque as Dundee snapped a seven game losing streak and moved nine points clear of last place Edinburgh but remain six points behind tenth placed Coventry.
Omar Pacha will now prepare his side to cause an upset when the Sheffield Steelers come to Tayside for the fist leg of the Challenge Cup quarter-finals this Wednesday evening.