By Kris Smith
Stars were unable to fix their home form after being brushed aside by the Steelers in a tough home fixture.
Drydn Dow was the only player unavailable for Dundee but Matt Climie made his debut in goals for Sheffield, while Aaron Johnson and Brad Day were missing form their line-up.
The visitors took the lead after just 31 seconds, a poor clearance by Mike Sullivan popped out in front of the Stars goal and Josh Pitt was there to put it past Pontus Sjögren.
Sheffield then gained the first powerplay of the night as Connor Cox was penalised for tripping in the third minute. Dundee killed off the penalty before equalising through Shawn Boutin. The Stars defender had time on the puck before firing his shot into the top corner of Climie’s net inside the 6thminute.
Shortly after the restart, the Sheffield keeper made a handful of saves to deny Dundee of going into the lead. However, it was the Steelers that got back in front after a bobbling puck was controlled by Jordan Owens. His shot somehow beat Sjögren from a difficult angle in the 12thminute.
Stars began to build some pressure and from that they produced a dangerous attack that seen one shot tipped and fans were cheering as it crossed the line but referees, Toby Craig and Steve Brown called a tripping penalty on Robert Dowd. The penalty was called before the goal and that left Stars on the powerplay and still a goal behind in the 14thminute.
The best chance on the man advantage seen Boutin’s shot tipped wide by Charles Corcoran before Tom Barrasso’s side killed off the penalty. A big hit by Owens on Dundee’s Petr Chaloupka sparked a reaction from the Stars players and Owens was assessed a two plus 10-minute penalty for boarding in the 16thminute. Stars were again unable to capitalise on the man advantage.
With 52 seconds left in the first period, Ben O’Connor put Stars on the powerplay after he was boxed for interference. Although, Sheffield were the side that continued to exploit the Stars defence. The visitors found a break whilst shorthanded and captain Jonathon Phillips deked the puck around Sjögren to make it 3-1 with 34 seconds left.
Stars failed to make anything happen with their remaining powerplay time in the second period but after a few minutes of back and forth play, Sjögren made a big stop to keep his side just two goals behind on the 26thminute mark.
Omar Pacha’s men were back on the penalty kill after an interference call on Boutin put them a man down, however they seen out the two minutes without conceding. A soft interference call against Brian Hart put him in the box for two minutes and Stars back on the kill. Sheffield then bagged their first powerplay goal on their third attempt of the night. O’Connor’s shot was deflected by Stefan Della Rovere and it looped over the Dundee goalie, moving the Steelers 4-1 ahead in the 29thminute.
The home team got another man advantage when Ryan Martinelli became the fourth straight player to be penalised for interference. The Steelers defenceman blocked the path of Lukas Lundvald in the 31stminute.
Sheffield made it four out of four on the penalty kill as the action settled down. Stars were in need of a goal but every time they won possession, they were heavily pressured by their opponents. Sheffield continued to hound the Stars goalie with shots but Sjögren was capable of stopping them and the Swede stood out again when Steelers then had numerous chances to extend their lead but he denied each shot before eventually covering up the puck.
Stars had a big chance late in the middle period but they could not get a clean shot away. Seconds later, Boutin fired in another dangerous effort and it hit a stick on the way toward goal and that forced a good save from Climie. Dundee needed a big third period if they were to get anything from the game, however they would be without defenceman Chaloupka as he would not return after sustaining an injury.
Stars had a good opportunity at the start of the third period but turned over the possession and that led to a 2-on-1 break for Sheffield but they were unable to punish Stars. Dundee were trying to find one scrap to build off but just could not penetrate the Yorkshire club’s defence. Matt Bissonnette was called for tripping in the 51stminute and it did not take long before Steelers moved ahead 5-1. O’Connor fired a slapshot from the top of the left circle that beat Sjögren low on his glove side, giving Sheffield their second powerplay goal of the night in 52ndminute.
Martinelli quickly made it 6-1 after Jonathon Phillips seen his wraparound shot saved but the rebound came straight to Martinelli and he fired into a wide-open net in the 55thminute. This prompted some changes from Omar Pacha as he substituted in back-up netminder, Craig Holland. Youngster Craig Garrigan was also given some ice time in the final five minutes of the game. Matt Marquardt beat Climie in the dying moments but it was deemed offside and cut off by the officials. Holland made one good stop before Dundee captain, Johan Andersson was denied with 30 seconds left.
Sheffield held onto to seal a comfortable road victory, Ben O’Connor and Dundee’s Kris Inglis were given the ‘Man of the Match’ awards.