By Kris Smith
Stars failed to take advantage of their second chance at taking points from their closest rivals in the hunt for play-off spots.
Braehead had the first chance in the opening minutes but Travis Fullerton was there to make the pad save. Dundee were then given an early powerplay chance again as Christoffer Björklund was the first player to be penalised, as he was called for interference in the fourth minute.
Clan killed the penalty despite some heavy pressure from Stars. However, a bad giveaway by the home side allowed Braehead to pass the puck quickly through the zone as Dundee’s defencemen scrambled to recover the puck but Brendan Brooks fired a weak shot that got stuck in the pads of Fullerton.
Moments later, Dundee’s Jimmy Jensen was robbed by Clan goalie, Ryan Nie as the swede released a quick shot after a quick counter attack by Stars. Braehead’s Craig Cescon fired a hard slapshot, but Fullerton made the kick save once more.
Steve Brown sent the Stars captain Chris Lawrence to the box for cross-checking in the thirteenth minute after he ploughed straight through Clan captain Ville Häcmäläinen from the face-off. The road team had a few good chances on the powerplay, but Dundee killed off the man advantage and as the penalty expired, Lawrence joined in on a quick break that seen Jensen have another quick shot saved again by Nie.
Cescon was found lurking deep in the Stars zone and a long pass played him onside as he went one-on-one with Fullerton, but the Dundee goalie came out on top. Shortly after, Anthony Mastrodicasa had his wrist shot denied from close range. Lawrence returned to the box for a second cross-checking penalty in the eighteenth minute but that was killed off before the first period concluded without any goals.
Stars got the start they needed in the second period as Omar Pacha fired a shot from a wide angle and Brian Hart was able to redirect it past Nie to give Dundee the lead at 21:20. Nie then made a huge save to deny Gabriel Lévesque of increasing Stars lead to 2-0 but after Clan cleared Omar Pacha received a two-minute minor for tripping.
A review was requested by Stars to see if Nie had made the save before the puck crossed the line but a malfunction in the goal line technology meant that no review could be conducted. Braehead couldn’t capitalise on their third powerplay of the evening. Clan regained the man advantage later in the period as Jordan Cownie was charged with tripping in the thirty-second minute.
With just one second left on the powerplay, Jacob Doty ran into Fullerton behind the net and Adam Brace swooped past stealing the puck before wrapping it around the post and into the net at 33:15, tying the game at 1-1.
Clan got ahead after a big slapshot from Cescon was saved by the pads of Fullerton but an unmarked Brooks was waiting to collect and scored on the rebound at 34:39.
Stars were desperately trying to come back and were given a great chance after Robert Lepine was given a two minute penalty for slashing that would span into the third period.
Dundee could not find an equaliser on the powerplay before it expired but a few minutes later Nie had to make multiple saves before he plucked the puck out of the air to prevent Stars from tying the game.
A mistake by Brooks then allowed Joey De Concilys to get forward and he tried to square the pass to his teammate but the Braehead defenceman got down to block the pass. Matt Haywood then put Clan 3-1 up after his shot hit Fullerton before landing in the back of the net at 45:13.
Lawrence fanned on a shot in front of the Clan just after restart before at the other end, Brace missed a chance after attempting a wraparound before Fullerton recovered and got down to stop Doty on the doorstep.
However, a mistake by Lawrence allowed Brace to feed the puck to Brooks, who was waiting in the slot and he fired a one-timer past Fullerton to increase the lead to 4-1 at 47:52. Omar Pacha called a timeout and it was exactly what his side needed.
Stars got a big break after Hart sent a pass back to the trailing Carlson who blasted it past Nie, pulling Dundee back to just two goals behind at 48:39. The home side found another gear as Lévesque dropped the puck off for Hart and he popped his shot over the shoulder of Nie, to make it a one goal game at 53:26.
Despite a determined effort from Stars, they struggled to find an equaliser. As the game came down to the final minutes, Cameron Burt sent Brace through on a breakaway but the Stars keeper was there to cover. Fullerton was then pulled in exchange for an extra attacker as the game entered the final ninety seconds.
Dundee’s best chance came with just twenty seconds to go but as Carlson was about to shoot the puck, referee Toby Craig stopped the play because of a man in the crease, it was fair to say Carlson was rather annoyed with the call. After verbally abusing the referee he was given a game penalty and thrown out of the game, with Travis Fullerton also picking up a penalty at the same time for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The final buzzer sounded and John Tripp’s side secured a four-point weekend over Dundee and put themselves five points ahead of Dundee in the final play-off spot. Brian Hart and Braehead’s Ryan Nie were awarded the ‘Man of the Match’ prizes.
Stars now have to prepare for a huge game in Northern Ireland as they head over to Belfast on Wednesday evening and have a chance to capitalise on their first game in hand which could slowly rebuild their momentum for their playoff push.