By Kris Smith
Dundee Stars earned a valuable point against the current Elite League champions after going down 3-2 in overtime following a great second period comeback.
Dundee were once again without Matt Bissonnette and the Devils were unable to ice Luke Piggott, Mark Richardson, Jordan Lawday and ex-Star Justin Faryna.
It was a slow burning atmosphere to start with and there were no early chances until Gleason Fournier interfered with Charles Corcoran as he tried to break into the Devils zone in the third minute, leaving Stars on an early man advantage. There were a few chances for Dundee but nothing that would trouble Ben Bowns in the Cardiff net.
This was followed by some good pressure by Devils but Pontus Sjögren made the saves to keep Stars in the game. A few minutes later, Stephen Dixon was lugging behind the play and took advantage of a blocked pass that fell straight into his path, he finished through the legs of the Stars goalie in the seventh minute.
Omar Pacha’s side fell deeper into trouble as a delay of game penalty was called against Bouchard. However, another breakaway for Stars seen Fabrizio Ricci hauled down by Joey Martin and he was boxed on an interference call in the 11th minute.
Dundee killed off the remaining time on their penalty and stepped straight onto the powerplay but were unable to capitalise. Cardiff were overplaying the puck as they created a number of good opportunities but played one pass to many, before Stars made some good moves of their own. The good play from both sides culminated with a 2-on-2 break by Ricci and Corcoran but the shot from the Ricci was stopped by Bowns.
There was a dangerous chance for Dundee in the closing minutes of the first period as a big shot rebounded off the glass behind the goal and Lundvald followed-up on the rebound but was denied again by the Devils goalie.
The second stanza was again a slow starter but the momentum quickly went the way of the visitors as Petr Chaloupka was boxed on a holding call in the twenty-third minute. Andrew Lord’s men found a second goal as Martin’s shot was almost stopped by Sjögren but Charles Linglet was there to control the rebound and tuck it into an empty net in the 24th minute for a powerplay goal.
It was not long before the home side were back on the penalty kill for holding as captain Johan Andersson was boxed and it became a 5-on-3 situation as Shawn Boutin was called for hooking in the 26th minute.
The best penalty killers in the league managed to hold on and keep the Devils at bay but the atmosphere was still lacking as Dundee tried to fight their way back into the game that was controlled by Cardiff. Matthew Myers left the ice with an injury and did return later in the game.
Dundee were yet to test Bowns in the Cardiff goal but a powerplay for Stars gave them the perfect chance, as Ricci was hooked by Layne Ulmer in the 34th minute. Pacha’s powerplay unit found their scoring touch again as Lundvald passed to Connor Cox who picked out Jordan Cownie on the doorstep, before the Scot shot it past Bowns in the 35th minute.
The Welsh side came back strong and found the net but the goal was cut off as Sean Bentivoglio received a two-minute penalty for goaltender interference inside the final minute. Once again Dundee capitalised on the powerplay and tied the game at 2-2 with 36 seconds left in the period. Corcoran tipped a pass goalward that Bowns managed to stop but the rebound landed on the blade of Cownie’s stick and he netted his second of the night.
The third period began with the teams even and Cardiff had a huge chance when Cox was boxed on a holding the stick call, but once again Stars seen off the danger. The game became full of end-to-end action as both teams produced good hockey before the home team were back on the penalty kill again, this time it was Mike Sullivan who was penalised for tripping in the 49th minute.
The Devils were hitting Dundee with pace but Sjögren and his defence were clearing up well, as the penalty was killed off again. The game entered the final five minutes and the intensity rose with more physical play coming into the match.
Chances were emerging for both sides but neither team could finish them and Omar Pacha’s side held on to claim a valuable point off of the reigning champions as overtime was required to decide a winner.
Just 11 seconds into the additional period, Cardiff were given a powerplay as Cownie was deemed guilty of hooking and it took 17 seconds for Fournier to skate between the Dundee defenceman and roof the puck into the Stars net.
Stephen Dixon and Dundee’s Jordan Cownie were highlighted for their ‘Man of the Match’ performances.
Stars earned a valuable point against the Devils who they face again in just under two weeks’ time but before that they take on the Guildford Flames in back-to-back games this weekend.