By Kris Smith
Dundee Stars extended their winning streak over their bitter rivals Fife Flyers to five-games with a 5-4 victory last night
Dundee welcomed the return of forward Lukas Lundvald and defenceman Connor Cox, giving them a full complement of defenders but Matt Bissonnette remained on the injured list. Meanwhile Fife travelled across the Tay without Chase Schaber, Evan Bloodoff, Rick Pinkston and Craig Douglas.
There were some early hostilities as Drydn Dow and Carlo Finucci collided and after getting back up, Fife’s Finucci slashed Dow across the back of the legs. That sparked a brawl as Brett Bulmer jumped the Stars defenceman before Shawn Boutin came to the aid of his teammate, less than three minutes into the game.
Finucci was thrown out of the game for slashing and Boutin and Bulmer received minor roughing penalties. Stars had a five-minute powerplay and Chad Smith was sent across to serve the five minutes for Fife.
It took Dundee less than two minutes on the man advantage to find the net. There were a few poor connections on shots before the puck came out to Matt Marquardt and he sent a shot on target and it deflected off the leg of a Flyers defender before finding the roof of the net in the fifth minute.
Moments later, Stars captain Johan Andersson showed good awareness to turn and see that Mike Cazzola had a straight path to goal as Dundee changed their lines and the Swede got across to cut out the danger just as the visitors returned to full strength.
The hostilities resumed when a late shove by Flyers’ Marcus Basara on Kris Inglis sparked a few punches being exchanged between the pair while Dundee’s Fabrizio Ricci and Jordan Buesa had words.
There was a huge chance for the visitors to draw level as Bulmer had a breakaway but he slid the puck wide from six yards in front. Stars then produced some great attacking moves inside the final five minutes but Shane Owen was equal to all of them.
The first period had showed some great hockey from both sides but that was heavily overshadowed by the aggressive approach Fife had taken to the game.
The physicality continued in the middle period but both teams defensive structure had collapsed as the goals flew in.
Basara drew the Flyers level after he manged to lift a shot over Pontus Sjögren after 56 seconds of play in the second period. A slashing call against the goal scorer came 41 seconds later as Dundee went back on the powerplay in the 22ndminute.
Todd Dutiaume’s side went down to three skaters as Evan Stoflet chipped the puck out of play, leaving Stars with a two-man advantage for 43 seconds.
Marquardt picked out the top left corner of Owen’s goal in the 24thminute before Omar Pacha’s powerplay unit scored their third of the night. This time Brian Hart redirected Dow’s shot to move the home team 3-1 ahead.
Dundee did not stop there as Ricci was working hard to get the puck past a bundle of players wrapped around the Fife post but eventually a whistle came. Flyers nicked one back as a shot trickled through Sjögren and Smith was there to tap in the rebound after 27 minutes.
Stars responded as Jordan Cownie and Lukas Lundvald had a two-on-one break and a lofted pass to Lundvald allowed the Dane to slot home Stars fourth of the night in the 30thminute. However, following the restart, Joe Basaraba was fouled by Cownie whilst through on goal and that earned Fife a penalty shot and the forward took his chance and buried it in the top corner 35 seconds later.
Dundee made it 5-3 after a few shots were whacked out the air and denied but one fell to Hart and he turned on the spot and slid the puck past Owen to restore Dundee’s two-goal lead in the 34th minute. Flyers gained their first powerplay opportunity as Mike Sullivan was boxed for cross-checking in the 35thminute.
Just before their man advantage was to end, the Kirkcaldy team worked the puck around well before feeding it to their top scorer, Paul Crowder and he rifled one past Sjögren in the 36thminute to make it 5-4. There were a few big chances for Stars in the final minute but they could not net a sixth goal before time expired in the second stanza.
Sjögren was forced into an early save as Fife looked to tie things up early in the third period. Dundee then had a few opportunities to extend their lead but were forced to continue their search for a sixth goal.
Both teams defences had tightened up before Dundee’s was put under pressure again as Hart sat for two minutes on a slashing call in the 47thminute. Stars killed off the powerplay comfortably but Dutiaume’s side continued their efforts to draw level as Bulmer rattled the post before some afters between Charles Corcoran and Crowder began with Connor Cox and Bulmer getting involved too.
Stars were shorthanded again as Kris Inglis was penalised for holding in the 51stminute. Once again, they seen it out before another scrap broke out, this time between Sullivan and Danick Gauthier, the pair had a few digs at each other before squaring off in a crowd of players. Following a few heavy blows by each player both were sent to serve their five- minute majors.
Stars went back on the powerplay as Gauthier also picked up a slashing minor which was served by Smith. Pacha’s men could not score a fourth powerplay goal but with Fife’s keeper pulled in the final two minutes, they had an opportunity to wrap the game up.
Ricci was unable to get a shot off as he went forward but the Stars forward collided with a Flyers player and crushed him into the boards. This set off Bulmer as he then attacked Ricci whilst he was down on the ice. After being separated the referees sent both players to the dressing room before recalling them to serve minor roughing penalties. Dundee held onto claim their fifth straight win over Flyers in yet another tight thriller.
Chad Smith and Dundee’s Brian Hart were selected as the ‘Man of the Match’ winners.
Pacha now takes his Stars to Kirkcaldy on Thursday in search of another win. Face-off 6:30pm.