Manchester Storm 7 – 5 Dundee Stars
Manchester Storm shook off their heartbreaking last minute loss in midweek to defeat their conference and play-off rivals the Dundee Stars at Altrincham Ice rink 7-5, thanks to a hat trick from Luke Salazar as his treble helped the Storm move into a play-off place after they leapfrogged the Coventry Blaze into 8th place thanks to their loss in Nottingham.
A crazy opening ten minutes of play brought five goals, four of which went the way of the Storm. Manchester made a great start to the game with over two minutes gone, when captain Matty Davies started the ball rolling for the Storm with the small forward tipping in a blast off Paul Swindlehurst to beat Trevor Koenig in the Dundee net for the 1 -0 lead. Matt Paton then made it two less than a minute later,with the American firing in at the near post to double their lead.
Dundee Stars forward Doug Clarkson then picked up a hooking call and that allowed the home side to capitalise on the man advantage they had thanks mainly to an incredible solo goal by Luke Salazar, in which the American stick-handled his way past the Static Stars defence to then slot home from close range for a 3-0 game and also registered the 100th goal of the campaign for Manchester Storm. This then led to the Stars coach Marc LeFebvre calling a time-out and having a few strong words with his side and those words were clearly still ringing in his players ears as they quickly pulled a goal back on the powerplay through Lou Dickenson, after Bobby Chaumont’s shot was blocked and had the puck falling perfectly between the skates of the Stars man to tap in at 7:54.
Canadian forward Grant Toulmin then restored the three goal lead for the home side minutes later, after the Storm man battled with a Dundee man for the puck in the Stars zone and when Koenig came out to try and poke the puck away, he got caught in ‘no man’s land’and it allowed Toulmin to scooped it over Koenig for a 4-1 score. The Scottish side then tried to drag the home side into some rough stuff and looked like their tactics were starting to work, when Justin Faryna and Omar Pacha got into it a bit during the play and that led to Devin Didiomete getting involved as well and saw the Ontario- native being thrown out of the game for third man in.
Justin Gray then netted for the away side soon after, with some good play by Mikael Lidhammar who played a backhanded pass out to Gray to fire a rising shot in the Storm cage for 4-2. In the second frame it saw Luke Salazar scoring his second of the match, after the forward drove to the net and got a touch of luck too with the goalie failing to stop the run of the puck and had it sliding under him and it saw Salazar having the easiest of tasks of tapping home at 22:29.
Big Doug Clarkson then brought it back to a two goal game with over half the game gone, this despite Zane Kalemba feeling he had been impeded by a Dundee man falling into him in the lead up to the goal but Clarkson took full advantage to make it 5-3. The Stars then thought they had scored again, after Justin Faryna went hard on goal and saw the puck falling inches from the goal line, before both Faryna and Mike Folkes crashed into the net and taking it off it off the pegs. Storm just managed to clear the puck in the nick of time and despite the red light coming on it saw the Stars players celebrating and were left bemused when referee Steve Brown washed it out rightly for not crossing the line after a long discussion with the linesmen.
Manchester then recovered from purple patch that Dundee outfit enjoyed amd saw Luke Salazar recording his first hat trick for the Storm, as he let loose a rocket of a shot that saw the puck somehow go through Koenig for 6-3 at 33:19. Curtis Leinweber then completed the scoring in the second period with the Dundee man skating into space on the powerplay and then rifled in a shot.
Both sides created chances in the third and even though the Dundee Stars pushed very hard for a goal to see them trying to make it one goal game, Storm’s defence held firm and stood up well to all attacks that the visitors carved out for themselves. Dundee Coach Marc Lebrevre then rolled the diced with over two minutes left on the clock, as he pulled his netminder for the extra attacker and that then saw local lad Paul Swindlehurst firing the puck up ice and banking it in in off the goalpost to score his first goal for the club and seal the points for the Storm at 7-4.
However Dundee weren’t quite done yet in the game, as with 27 seconds remaining in the game it saw Justin Faryna lifting the puck over Zane Kalemba to see a two goal deficit once more and saw them having the last word in the game.