By Kris Smith
Stars picked up another point on the road as they lost 4-3 in Manchester, after a tight game against the Storm that required overtime to separate the two teams.
Matt Bissonnette was the only player missing from Dundee’s line-up while Manchester were without Félix-Antoine Poulin, Linden Springer, Duncan Speirs, Lee Bonner, Ashely Smith and Jindrich Pacl.
Dundee almost opened the scoring as Drydn Dow’s shot from the blue line was held after 70 seconds of play. Stars were attacking well, spending most of the early minutes in the Manchester end as the Storm continually iced the puck.
The home side’s first attack seen Evan Richardson break but it was easily caught by Pontus Sjögren in the Dundee goal. Charlie Corcoran’s backhanded shot bounced off the post in the seventh minute as Stars continued to create dangerous chances before a powerful slapshot from Lukas Lundvald was blocked by a Storm defenceman.
A duo of attacks was wasted by Manchester after they failed to hit the target. Stars were given the first powerplay of the night after a slashing penalty against Harrison Ruopp in the 10th minute. There was a big chance for Storm to get the first goal when Luke Moffatt pick-pocket the Stars defence deep in the Dundee end.
Sjögren tried to kill the attack by sticking out his stick but ended up tripping his opponent and received a two-minute tripping penalty and from the face-off, ex-Dundee defenceman, Riley Stadel blasted one past Sjögren in the 12th minute.
Connor Cox and Dow were both denied by Matt Ginn despite traffic in front of the Manchester goalie. Stars were back on the man advantage after Declan Balmer was boxed for tripping in the 16th minute. Whilst on the penalty kill, Moffatt stole the puck again but after playing it back in front of the Stars goal, his teammate fired it over the net.
The penalty expired just before Manchester doubled their lead, a late pass from Dylan Anderson to the open Chris Auger, allowed the forward to fire a quick shot past the Stars keeper in the 19th minute. Ryan Finnerty’s men quickly snatched a third goal with 19 seconds left in the first period after a turnover in the Dundee end. A pass was dropped back to Stadel and he fired it from high in the Dundee zone past Sjögren again.
The first period concluded and Dundee would have been disappointed with their start but they still had 40 minutes to turn it around.
The second stanza began with Jordan Cownie unleashing a hard shot that was held by the Manchester keeper. Inside the 22nd minute, Anderson delivered a hard hit on François Bouchard and Dow stepped up for his teammate. The pair dropped the gloves but as soon as Anderson got a hold of Dow he dragged him to the ice. Anderson sat for five minutes, while Dow received a total of 17 penalty minutes, five for fighting and a two plus 10 for starting the fight.
This left the home side on the powerplay before Brian Hart nearly got Dundee on the board. He led a counter attack but seen his low shot saved before penalty was called against Fabrizio Ricci for slashing. Manchester had over a minute with a two-man advantage and they did not find it easy, Corcoran closed down the Storm goalie when he came out to play the puck. Ginn was forced into making a mistake but it was not one that was punished by Omar Pacha’s team.
Close to the halfway mark, Moffatt was left alone in the slot but was swiftly denied by Sjögren. Dundee’s Petr Chaloupka chipped the puck towards the goal and on its way it was tipped by Lundvald into the top left corner, getting Stars off the mark in the 34th minute.
An elbow call against Moffatt put him in the sin bin for two minutes and that allowed Lundvald, Cownie and Johan Andersson to linkup on the powerplay but they could not bag a second goal. However, Matt Marquardt could as Hart passed the puck while on his knees to Marquardt and he fired high into the net. Despite a review of the goal, Dundee were within one goal of the Storm after that powerplay goal in the 38th minute.
The Tayside team were straight back on the attack and some good saves were made at both ends. With 18 seconds left in the middle period, Cownie smashed a shot past Ginn from the right circle to draw Stars level at 3-3.
Stars got the turnaround they need and were hoping to build on their positive response in the third period.
The action went from end to end in the early minutes of the third and a few big saves were made by both Sjögren and Ginn. There were chances for Dundee but all were saved by Ginn as they pushed to take the lead.
Stadel was penalised for roughing in the 48th minute, giving Stars the chance they need but it became a bit easier for the visitors when a delay of game call against Shane Bakker made it 5-on-3. Stars coach Pacha used his timeout to give his side a new strategy to try and find the lead.
Auger made a big block as the pressure continued from Stars but eventually Storm regained one player before Ginn covered up for a whistle. Manchester returned to full strength before the play went back and forth and no team could find the lead. Dundee looked like scoring inside final five minutes and with a double chance they were stopped twice by Ginn. The home side almost stole the two points as a late opportunity was saved by Sjögren.
Once again Dundee found themselves in overtime for the third consecutive game. Straight from the face-off Ciaran Long had a good opportunity but it was quickly covered up by the Dundee netminder.
Mike Hammond was next to be denied as he tried to beat Sjögren through his five-hole, before Dow seen his effort saved at the other end. Turnovers in their own end caused alert for Stars but Sjögren was quick to get the play blown down.
Manchester were quick to regroup and attack, it was Hammond again but he was put under pressure and failed to get his shot on target. Finally, Stadel found the winner and bagged his hat-trick. He was picked out in the slot by Hammond and quickly fired it high past Sjögren with just 39 seconds left in overtime.
Riley Stadel and Dundee’s Matt Marquardt were given the ‘Man of the Match’ awards. Stars return home to face Nottingham Panthers on Sunday evening at 5pm.