By Kris Smith
Stars won two massive points after claiming their first victory against Panthers this season and won their second consecutive away game.
Nottingham had the first chance of the game as Brett Perlini forced Travis Fullerton to make an early stop, the Dundee goalie then deflected a puck out of play after Zack Phillips fired a quick shot from the slot.
However, despite Panthers asking questions of the Stars defence early on it was Dundee who took the lead through Brian Hart after he recieved the puck from Chris Lawrence at 6:26. Omar Pacha’s side were quickly forced to defend their lead as Luke Pither and Mike Vaskivuo broke into the offensive end 2-on-1 but Fullerton made a good save on a shot from point blank range.
The home side continued to create quick break plays as David Clarke won the puck in his own end before playing Stephen Lee through into the Stars end but Fullerton was once again there to make the stop.
Eventually Dundee were starting to put more shots on Patrick Galbraith in the Nottingham goal as the Dane was forced to save two dangerous opportunities that could have put Stars well into the lead.
Panthers got the first powerplay of the game after Jordan Cownie recieved a two-minute tripping minor in the eighteenth minute. Dundee did well to kill of the penalty and that took them into the first break with a one-goal lead.
Corey Neilson’s men began the second period the same way the first ended as Emerson Hrynyk was charged with hooking after hauling down Alexander Mokshantsev, twenty-three seconds after the restart.
Stars once again killed the penalty and a few minutes later doubled their lead through Adam Harding. The Welshman redirected a shot past Galbraith to put Dundee 2-0 ahead at 26:54. Dundee got their first man advantage of the night as Robert Farmer picked up a two-minute minor for interference in the thirty-first minute. The Panthers’ defence broke down after only a minute as the road team found a third goal, Brian Hart beat Galbraith after being fed the puck by Jimmy Jensen.
Nottingham were slipping further and further behind, but they slowly started to tilt the ice back into their favour. A few moments after Stars had scored their third, Mokshantsev got his team on the board after beating Fullerton from the hashmarks.
The third period began with both captains getting tangled up behind the net before Panthers continued their comeback, Mokshantsev fed the puck to Jeff Brown who shot into a half empty net from the edge of the crease at 44:25.
However, the team from Tayside were not giving up their lead without a fight. Gabriel Levesque’s initial shot was saved by the pads of Galbraith but it ricochets back into the net off Jordan Cownie at 46:09.
Mathieu Gagnon picked up an interference call in the forty-ninth minute and that gave Stars a big chance to restore their three-goal cushion, but this time Nottingham were able to see off the man advantage.
Although shortly after returning to full-strength, they lost another man to the penalty box as Panthers were penalised for too-many men on the ice in the fifty-second minute, it was served by Phillips. Dundee could not capitalise on the man advantage but had another good chance after Galbraith was pulled for an extra attacker.
Fullerton made a good save to keep his side in front and forced Neilson to call a timeout and rally his side. Surprisingly it payed off as Phillips beat Fullerton from the side of the goal to pull Nottingham back to just a goal behind with fifty-nine seconds left.
Stars held on to secure a massive two points and move to just a single point behind both Coventry and Braehead as the race for the final playoff spot continues to heat up.
Stars’ Brian Hart and Panthers’ Jeff Brown were awarded the ‘Man of the Match’ awards for their impressive performances.
Dundee must now prepare for a huge weekend as they travel to Fife to face the Flyers, before hosting Coventry Blaze and Milton Keynes Lightning in a three-game weekend.
Image: Panthers Images