The Dundee Stars didn’t have a great weekend, going 0-2 in a home and home versus an old rival in the Guildford Flames (we haven’t forgotten the crispy pancake league days).
Going 1/11 on total powerplay attempts and coughing up 10 goals total over two legs unfortunately won’t win a lot of hockey games. Certainly issues of fatigue arose from playing 75 games in 9 days across 13 countries. However there were a couple of high points to discuss and it does seem evident Jordan Cownie is breaking into the top tier of British players in the league which is great to see.
Let’s have a look at some goals shall we?
Guildford goal @6:48 Ian Watters (27) from John Dunbar (90) and Jez Lundin (82)
In terms of ideal breakout scenarios, catching two opposition forwards below your own goal line is a good place to start. The Flames have just such an opportunity here as Jesse Craige (44) dispossesses Brian Hart (88) who’s in on the forecheck. Francois Bouchard (22) half attempts to pressure Craige but the puck is past him and the breakout has begun with the two forwards caught deep.
John Dunbar is the hero of this shift as he both begins the breakout and sets up the finish. He first switches it to the far side D which is Jez Lundin who’s in great position to transition with lot’s of space to get going. He gets through the neutral zone dodging an obligatory poke-check from Lukas Lundvald (10) and dishes it back to Dunbar who’s actually just been wheeling down the wing the whole time and is now ahead of him.
Flying at this stage, Dunbar beats Drydn Dow (6) out wide and tucks it in the slot to Watters who has come in from the blueline untouched and just has to chip a backhand far side to start the scoring. All three Stars’ forwards are caught puck watching here and they barely clock the eventual scorer streaking in from the blue line. Connor Cox (3) the other defenceman does give him a glance but that’s the limit of the pressure he puts him under.
Stars PP goal @49:33 Jordan Cownie (14) from Connor Cox (3) and Lukas Lundvald Neilsen (10)
Yes it’s correct, do not adjust your settings it is actually a Stars’ powerplay goal, not a bad one either. They maintain possession well in the corner as Charles Corcoran (89) supports Jordan Cownie and gets the puck back to the opposite side defenceman Cox who invites the pressure before switching it to Shawn Boutin (27). Boutin pivots with some nice edge work and gets it to Lundvald with room to pick a pass. Flames’ aggressive pressing of the point men leaves good room behind them as they are both beyond the curling circles.
With Flames’ PK forwards scrambling to get back, a seem is created for Cox who is pinching and finds Cownie back door. He puts it into the open cage and it’s a 1-1 game. Cownie has a genuine knack for this spot, he rarely beats goalies clean one on one but boxing clever means he can wait below the goal line and get lost in coverage for a back door tap in.
This isn’t his first rodeo. Here’s two against Cardiff from a couple of games before.
Guildford PP goal @52:30 Kruise Reddick (51) from Calle Ackered (8) and John Dunbar (90)
If Flames’ first goal was the Dunbar show, this PP marker is the Reddickulous show and a reasonably straight forward breakdown. Reddick and Ackered play catch between the wall and the point around Fabrizio Ricci (43) like it was ‘piggy in the middle’. This doesn’t gain them a lot of ground but does drag Ricci high and a little out of position. Reddick then skates at Cox who is the defenceman on the same side. Cox knows Dunbar is right behind him below the goal line so angles his skates and stick to the outside preempting the pass like this…
The pass never comes and Reddick instead toe drags round him to the middle and SHELVES IT LIKE HE GOT IT FROM IKEA.
Guildford goal @52:46 – Jamie Crooks (19) from Evan Ritt (39) and Ben Davies (5)
A whopping 16 seconds after the goal previous it all unfortunately once again goes Pete Tong for the Stars. Guildford win the faceoff and dump the puck in. Mike Sullivan (4) goes behind the net to retrieve it and loses it in his feet. When he finds it he realises the forechecker Ritt is close behind. He stops to create a gap but Ritt stops with him so he opts to jam it up the boards. The winger Corcoran who would have been the recipient had already left the zone so Davies chips it back in along the boards to Ritt. At this point literally all of the Stars aside from Shawn Boutin are on the wrong side of the puck defensively. Ritt squares it inside to Crooks who uses Boutin as a screen and beats Pontus Sjögren clean, high glove.
Dundee goal @53:28 – Matt Marquardt (37) from Brian Hart (88)
The play begins with Evan Ritt calling for a pass when he isn’t really in great position for one. The play is broken up and Ritt follows it to a board battle with Hart. He loses this battle and the play altogether, leaving Davies chasing the result of his lost one on one. Recognising there is enough a gap in the backcheck to stop at the faceoff dot and get his head up, Hart finds a trailing Marquardt who rips it home to keep the game within arms reach.
Continue to watch Marquardt after he scores and you will see he is playing injured, clearly battling something. Pacha said as much post-game in his interview with Stars TV. He commented that “A guy like Marquardt probably shouldn’t have played tonight but he played and scored a big goal.” The character was clear to see.
There was an empty-netter but nothing really warranting a closer look. The Stars move on to face Cardiff Away this Saturday, having taken a point from their first encounter. To stand any chance the Stars will have to win the special teams matchup and put the game to bed if given a chance. Let’s hope they’re well rested and ready to go.
All video, images and quotes courtesy of Stars TV