An overtime goal from Dundee’s Benjamin Sokay was the difference in the Hogmanay basement battle with Glasgow Clan in the Elite Ice-Hockey League.
The 3-2 victory for the Stars catapulted them up to 8th place in the table, leaving their opponents rooted to the bottom.
Despite the final score, it was the home team who seemed like the top contender for bagging three points at the start, dominating all elements of the game.
The constant pressure they’d subjected the Stars to culminated with Gary Haden’s opener at 12:17.
It could have been even worse for the away side with the Clan’s goalie John Muse making several goal-stopping saves, meaning the score remained 1-0 for the rest of the period.
Fuelled by thunderous chants coming from the white and blue corner of the sold-out Braehead arena, Dundee Stars responded to their fans’ vocal support and dominated the second.
Despite playing with one less man due to Elijiah Barriga’s interference, the Stars destroyed all of Glasgow’s powerplay aspirations and even managed to orchestrate a few counterattacks.
Then just before the third period, disaster struck for the Clan when key defenseman Mitch Jones was smacked in the faced by an opponent’s stick, forcing a premature end to his game.
This turning point witnessed a change in fortunes for Dundee and just after the half hour mark, their efforts paid off when Benjamin Sokay’s solo run from one side of the ice to the other ended with an equaliser.
Glasgow threw everything at the Stars’ goaltender Anton Svensson, who produced a heroic performance in the third period to keep the score levelled.
And at 56:32, with just under four minutes remaining, Dundee took the lead through defenseman Colin Joe.
Some home fans had now seen enough and walked away, witnessing another potential victory at the Braehead Arena stolen late on.
Those who stayed on were treated to a dramatic comeback thanks to Haden’s second successful shot, forcing the tie into overtime.
However, it was Dundee who snatched the victory with only one-and-a-half-minute played thanks to another individual effort from Sokay.
“It means a lot for us to get a victory…on the road,” says Dundee’s Svensson. “Ben’s goal in the overtime showed us we can turn games over and bounce back.”
“We need to realise that when the game is tight, it’s hard work that’s putting us in a good seat for winning, skills come second,” he adds ahead of the upcoming clash with the Clan on 2nd January.
Glasgow’s Jones couldn’t hide his disappointment: “We knew what was on the line – potentially the biggest game of the season – and we didn’t show up for the full 60 (minutes).”
“We need to win against Dundee. No questions asked…As the season winds down, the window gets shorter to make playoffs,” he says before his team sets off to Dundee.
“We might be short players, but it all comes down to heart and who wants it more. We need to show more heart, grit, and character. We owe it to ourselves and to our fans to who have continued to support us through our entire season.”