By Kris Smith
Omar Pacha took his side to Ice Arena Wales for the first time since he took the reigns in the summer, as they looked to repeat last month’s huge win over the Devils.
Mark Louis, Callum Buglass and Ex-Star Faryna did not ice, despite Faryna icing on Saturday evening. Justin Fox would sit out this game along with Anthony Mastrodicasa, Chris Lawrence and Jordan Cownie.
Dundee played well in the opening five minutes and didn’t give up any real chances as they clogged up the Devils’ shooting lanes. A goalmouth scramble led to referee Jan Schmejkal calling a goal as he thought the puck crossed the goal line but after a review Travis Fullerton’s helmet had been knocked off before the puck went in and the goal was waived off.
The home side came with real pace at the Dundee defence after the restart as they continued to search for the game’s first goal. Layne Ulmer received a pass through the middle, as he went clean through the defence and deked it before going five-hole on Fullerton at 9:58.
Dundee held off continued pressure from Devils but a delayed penalty gave Andrew Lord’s men the extra skater, which led to a pass in front for Andrew Hotham , who sent it home at 14:52, doubling the home side’s lead.
A high-sticking call against Bryce Reddick sends Dundee on the game’s first powerplay and after a well worked play in the Devils’ end, a pass across the crease hits the skate of Brian Hart and is redirected into the net at 18:32. Cardiff players were quick to claim it was kicked in but the referee allowed the goal to stand.
The first period concluded with the Devils’ momentum dented by Dundee’s late powerplay strike.
Cam McGiffin and Reddick started the middle period with a bout as McGiffin stepped in for his head coach and got the better of the punches as Reddick did not land any before they fell on top of each other.
The intensity picked up but the Dundee goalie continued to keep his side in the contest. Ulmer rattled the pipes before another goal mouth scramble where Fullerton denied countless shots. Stars’ were defending exceptionally well as the Devils’ were testing Dundee’s Canadian netminder but the score remained 2-1.
A fast-paced wraparound from Joey Haddad was too quick for Fullerton to stop as the Devils lead was extended to 3-1 at 33:18. Brian Hart was sent to the box on a tripping call as Cardiff got their first powerplay of the game.
Hotham missed an open net before Gleason Fournier created a 4-on-4 situation for 3 seconds before Dundee would go back on the man advantage that would span into the third period.
The Stars powerplay unit could not punish the Welsh team again as their advantage expired but they created a few dangerous attacks but Ben Bowns made the save on every effort. A
strong play by Adam Harding tested the Devils’ defence and eventually he gets a shot off but Bowns does enough to hold his side’s two goal lead.
Dundee got a third powerplay when Sean Bentivoglio sat for two minutes on a slashing call but Omar Pacha’s side still couldn’t breakdown the Devils for a second goal. Andersson is assisted off the ice with five minutes left in the game and Dundee went back on the powerplay as Haddad was called for an elbowing infraction.
A great chance as Gabriel Lévesque found Malcolm Gould in the slot but the rebound from Gould’s shot fell to the backdoor where it was almost tucked in but Bentivoglio’s defensive efforts stopped it crossing the line.
Stars quickly regrouped and Joey De Concilys found the net when he fired it in short side, making it 3-2 at 56:32. Cardiff picked up a powerplay to kill off any momentum Dundee had picked up, as Taylor Dickin was penalised for boarding. Stars’ killed off the penalty but could not find the crucial goal to secure a point. The game ended with Cardiff scraping past Stars after a valiant effort from Omar Pacha’s men who just fell short in the Welsh capital.
Travis Fullerton and Joey Haddad picked up the ‘Man of the Match’ awards. The Stars now prepare for a trip to Milton Keynes when they face the Lightning next Saturday as both sides will be looking to turn their fortunes after collecting zero points this weekend.