By Kris Smith
Dundee Stars were unable to claim their first win of 2019 as they lost 4-3 in overtime to the Milton Keynes Lightning in the battle of the back-ups.
Dundee winger Matt Bissonnette returned to the line-up but defender Shawn Boutin and netminder Pontus Sjögren both did not ice. Milton Keynes did not have their starting goalie, Patrick Killeen, along with three other of their skaters.
With both starting goaltenders out due to illness, Adam Goss and Dundee’s Craig “Sheepdog” Holland were both called into action. Dundee Comets netminder, Matthew Michie provided back-up cover for Stars.
Stars had the better of the chances in the opening few minutes but Adam Goss did well to deny them. Goss was forced into action again, just after the five-minute mark but despite Dundee’s Lukas Lundvald getting the MK keeper off his feet, the puck would not fall for him and the chance was squandered.
Radek Meidl brought the first save from Craig “Sheepdog” Holland a minute later, as the Lightning forward forced the Fifer to make a kick save with his pad. The home side took the lead as Stars captain, Johan Andersson played a pass out in front of the MK goal and Fabrizio Ricci sent it high into the left corner. Milton Keynes responded immediately through Nelson Armstrong.
Stars lost control of the game for a short period of time but looked to settle back into their driving attacks after the halfway point of the first period. A crucial block from Andersson sent Ivan Sijan’s slapshot out of play in the 13th minute. A quick transition by the Lightning seen them take the lead as Robbie Baillargeon’s slapshot snuck past Holland in the 17th minute.
Stars picked up from where they left off in the first period and went straight on the attack but Charles Corcoran’s effort was snatched out the air by Goss. Defenceman, Mike Sullivan drew Dundee level as his shot was partially blocked by Martin Mazanec but it looped over Goss and into the Lightning goal.
Milton Keynes responded swiftly as Baillargeon flung a wrist shot into the top left corner in the 25th minute. Omar Pacha’s side edged closer to another equaliser but the pucks were still just slipping wide and out of reach for the Tayside team. Andreas Valdix caught Dundee’s Petr Chaloupka in the face with his stick and that gave Dundee their first powerplay of the night in the 33rd minute.
It was almost a tied game when the puck slipped through Goss’s crease and the keeper quickly spun around to cover it up. Stars could not capitalise on the powerplay despite having a number of chances. Lightning were back shorthanded in the 39th minute as Baillargeon was penalised for hooking.
Dundee began the final period with 38 seconds remaining on the powerplay but Ryan Lannon’s men seen out the rest of the minor. Stars finally found their leveller as Corcoran and François Bouchard broke two-on-one and Bouchard fired the squared pass past Goss after 43 minutes.
After a dry spell of play, a brilliant double save from Goss stopped Brian Hart giving the home team the lead. With five minutes to go in regulation, Lundvald put a good shot on target and it snuck through the Lightning goalie but the diving Ricci could not poke it home before it was cleared.
With just 13 seconds left on the clock, referee Pavel Halas called a too-many men on the ice penalty against Dundee.
Overtime was required to separate the sides and in the opening minutes Mike Sullivan made two important blocks to prevent Milton Keynes scoring the winning goal whilst on a powerplay. Dundee killed the penalty but Tim Wallace managed to dance around Drydn Dow and flick a shot over Holland in the 63rd minute to win the game 4-3.
‘Man of the Match’ awards went to Adam Goss and Dundee’s Mike Sullivan.
Stars now have to prepare for their trip through to Glasgow on Saturday as they seek revenge for Wednesday’s 4-1 loss at the hands of the Glasgow Clan.