By Kris Smith
Dundee travelled to Sheffield knowing they would be at a disadvantage from the start, Ben Edmonds and Chris Lawrence were unable to ice, leaving Omar Pacha’s side short-benched against a full Steelers line-up.
Dundee opened in their usual style with some early pressure, Adam Harding was denied by Ervins Mustukovs, and the rebound fell loose in front but it was cleared away. Liam Kirk’s effort was saved by the stick of Travis Fullerton, at the other end. Tyler Brickler then worked the puck into the zone and circled before passing to Gabriel Lévesque who one-timed a slapshot but Mustukovs seen it all the way and easily caught it.
It was breakaway for Colton Fretter that would open the scoring as he went five-hole on the Dundee goalie to give the home side the 1-0 lead at 3:54. A long shot from the red line went straight towards Fullerton but he easily covered.
Sheffield started to dominate and their possession in the Stars defensive end was increasing as a Scott Aarssen shot was smothered in the chest of Fullerton, also Jonathan Phillip’s one-timed effort was tipped wide before a pass from Mark Matheson found its way to the tape of Juha Koivisto who tipped it high into the top left corner of the net, making it 2-0 at 5:35.
The Steelers looked unstoppable as they fired shot after shot on the Stars goal, Ben O’Connor tried his luck with a wrist shot but it could not beat the Stars netminder. Patrick Lee was the spearhead of the first Dundee attack after a few minutes of constant defence, but his snapshot was blocked by O’Connor, the rebound came out to Taylor Dickin but he fired off the pads of Sheffield netminder.
Sheffield grabbed a third goal after a great play by the their captain, Jonathan Phillips, who dropped the puck to Mathieu Roy, who found Fretter in front of the net and he fired around the Dundee goalie ,for his second goal of the night, at 7:49.
It was almost 4-0 after Anthony Mastrodicasa turned the puck over, giving the Steelmen a 3-on-1 break but Travis Fullerton sprawled out to cover the puck, as the shot was taken. Omar Pacha’s side had a handful of opportunities in the first period and a quick break was wasted when they could not hit the target. Tyler Brickler blocked a huge slapshot and looked in some discomfort but continued his shift.
The next goal scoring opportunity was once again for the home side as Paul Thompson’s team had an open net and an unmarked player to the side of the net but it was a Stars defenceman who got to it first and cleared. Dundee were desperately looking for a road back into the game, Jimmy Jensen was giving his all, as he applied pressure to the Steelers defence deep in their zone, waiting for a mistake but Sheffield moved forward once more.
Sheffield got the game’s first man advantage when Taylor Dickin was called for hooking by referee Tom Pering at 13:18. Dundee defended well against a strong Steelers powerplay, that was hot from last weekend, thus inevitably, it could not be stopped as, Roy fired home at the open back door at 13:55.
It took less than a minute for the Steelers to get a fifth as Brady Ramsay shot the puck into the tiniest of gaps near Fullerton’s right shoulder which was hugging the post. 5-0 Sheffield
at 14:48. The Stars looked like they had no clue how to manage the fast and deeply skilled English side, however Cameron McGiffin found one way to do it, he delivered a hard and clean check to the front of Levi Nelson, sweeping the Canadian off his feet.
Jordan Cownie had a great chance to pull a goal back for Dundee but he could not find a way past Mustukovs after he had been hassled by O’Connor. At the other end Fullerton made a diving poke check save to prevent a sixth goal with eight seconds left in the first period.
Sheffield had smothered out Dundee’s fast attacking threat and started to relax on home ice. Meanwhile Omar Pacha knew he had to make a ‘Plan B’ if his side were to get any points from this fixture.
It was early pressure again from the Stars to start the second stanza, they got straight into the Sheffield zone but found no opportunity to shoot before losing possession. Malcolm Gould did well to block a pass and win back possession before setting-up Jordan Cownie who’s shot was held by Mustukovs.
The Stars got another fast break and it was Stadel to be denied this time, Marc-Oliver Mimar was on the blue line, ready for a second break, as Stars came back from their own zone, he connected with the pass before the blocker of Mustukovs stopped him. Liam Kirk’s solo backhand effort was only equal to Fullerton as he went clear on a Dundee line change, Joonas Rönnberg then unleashed a cannon of a slapshot that Fullerton also found no trouble in stopping.
Colton Fretter was robbed of a hat-trick after his breakaway attempt could not beat Fullerton, the rebound came to his teammate who sent it back out in front of goal to Fretter, he rifled a shot off the underside of the cross-bar and it bounced back out. After a video review by referee Pering it was deemed no goal, he was also cut on the play as blood ran from his face, but no penalty was called, Fretter left the ice and returned later in the period after being patched up.
This stoppage in play had re-charged the Stars as the energetic Scot’s created chance after chance but Sheffield clogged the shooting lanes. Sheffield went back on the powerplay after Johan Andersson received a 2-minute elbowing penalty at 25:59, it was a simple kill for Dundee and they did it with ease, the only concern was a Trevor Valdix wrist shot that was easily gloved.
The Stars were building in momentum and a great skate by Lévesque, who dropped a pass off to Malcolm Gould who shot through the five-hole of Mustukovs, to break the shutout at 28:22. Dundee started to test the Steelers who had looked far-too comfortable, however Sheffield crushed the new-found hope of the Stars as they made it 6 goals to 1. John Armstrong tipped a shot into the shoulder of Fullerton but it just slipped over his arm and drops into the net, at 30:45.
Roy tried a very risky shot and it almost payed off as he whacked at a bobbling puck and it was only stopped by the toe of Fullerton who dropped on top of the loose puck to secure it. Dundee faced more injury concern as Mastrodicasa took an unintentional hit to the head and was down on the ice, there was no penalty on the play however Dundee may still request a Department of Player Safety review, he went back to the dressing room for treatment.