By Kris Smith
Stars continued their play-off push with another big win over Edinburgh Capitals, a tough fought game was eventually seen out by Dundee after a dominant third period.
Edinburgh were hit by the departures of Nikita Kolesnikovs and Pavel Vorobyev earlier this week, meanwhile Dundee were boosted by the return of Adam Harding after a three-week spell on the side-lines.
Stars took a fast approach but couldn’t find an early lead as Caps defended well and got forward a few times. Edinburgh started to attack more but both teams were still feeling each other out and waiting to pounce when the other made a mistake.
Dundee were put on the powerplay after Tyler Plews was penalised for Delay of Game in the twelfth minute. It did not take long before Stars capitalised on the man advantage. Chris Lawrence took the pass from Marc-Olivier Mimar and moved towards the goal before roofing a shot over Tyler Beskorowany at 12:21. Caps answered back quickly, Harry Ferguson was in front of goal to tuck home a rebound at 13:20.
Jordan Cownie tried to slip a backhanded shot past the Edinburgh keeper but it drifted just wide. Malcolm Gould then fed Lawrence who was waiting in the middle of the slot but Beskorowany got behind the bullet from the Stars captain before freezing the rebound. Dundee bombarded the Edinburgh net with shots as they tried to get back in front, but it was at the other end where there were some big chances.
Sergei Banashkov went clear through the home team defence but was denied by the pads of Fullerton before the Canadian used his glove to stop a high shot from Caps’ Igor Valeyev.
There were a few early chances for Stars, but they were put on the penalty kill after Gabriel Lévesque was penalised for slashing just thirty-seven seconds into the middle period. A scramble in front of the Stars net almost gave Edinburgh the lead but the Tayside team held on to kill off the penalty.
Joey De Concilys cut out a pass and played the puck through to Mimar but his effort was saved before the Caps broke 2-on-1 and Mike Cazzola set-up Banashkov to fire over the stretched-out Fullerton at 24:48.
Banashkov doubled their lead as the Russian skated to the middle of the slot and beat Fullerton through the five-hole at 27:21. Omar Pacha called a timeout to try and get his team back on track and they started chipping away at Edinburgh’s 3-1 lead.
A big chance for Anthony Mastrodicasa was wasted when the defenceman put his shot wide of the goal. Stars didn’t seem to have any luck on their side. Caps then picked up a powerplay as Lawrence sat for cross-checking, but his teammates did well to kill the penalty and keep the Caps within reach.
Fullerton was quick to cover a few loose pucks and that prevented any further damage. De Concilys took a stick to the face and that drew the penalty against Cazzola. Stars were pressing hard in the final minutes of the middle stanza and when they entered the zone Lévesque sent a pass back across the zone that Pacha connected with before blasting a shot past Beskorowany at 37:01.
Dundee got a man advantage when Michael D’Orazio caught Gould in the face with his stick. Dundee could not find an equaliser before the end of the period but their powerplay would expand into the final period.
The home side had a chance to score before the powerplay ended but the save was made by the Caps goalie. Patrik Moisio took exception to a hit he received and gave Cody Carlson a shove, the pair headed to the box and sat for two minutes for roughing.
Beskorowany produced a big save to rob De Concilys, despite the Stars fans believing they had scored and the goal light coming on. However, it was a tied game when Lévesque showed off some beautiful moves on a breakaway before slipping it past the down and out Beskorowany at 43:20.
Stars kept wave after wave of attacks coming as they started to regain control of the game. Lukas Lundvald tried to jam a quick shot home but the Edinburgh keeper was quick to cover the puck. Dundee smoothly worked the puck across the face of goal as Mimar lifted a pass over the Edinburgh defenceman’s stick to Brian Hart and he rifled his shot into the net at 51:09, putting Stars back into lead.
Hart then tried to force a puck past Beskorowany but the Caps keeper wouldn’t budge. Carlson then made it 5-3 to Dundee after Hart dragged all the defenders towards him before sending a pass back to the defenseman and he fired the puck past Beskorowany at 54:59. A timeout was called by Caps coach, D’Orazio with 2:52 left in the game.
Beskorowany was pulled and it paid off as the extra skater, Valeyev, rushed the Stars net and managed to slip the puck under Fullerton, pulling the Stars back to a one-goal lead at 58:21. Malcolm Gould missed an open net as the Stars defended well and held on to their lead despite the Caps swapping Beskorowany for a sixth attacker again.
Five straight wins is the club record since joining the EIHL and Omar Pacha’s men matched the record set by the team coached by Dan Ceman in 2011. Unfortunately for Stars fans, Braehead Clan defeated Fife Flyers 3-2 in Glasgow and that has kept Dundee out of the play-off spots but a win against Nottingham will keep the pressure on John Tripp’s side.
Stars will face-off in Nottingham at 4pm tomorrow, as Corey Neilson’s Panthers try to snap a two-game losing streak.