Adam Keefe’s men had led by a pair after two periods thanks to goals from Bobby MacIntyre and Ara Nazarian, but despite a 39-save performance from Jackson Whistle, they could only take a point from the Scottish duel.
After making a huge save to deny Ryan Valentini late in the third period of Saturday’s game, Whistle did likewise inside the opening minute of this game, getting down the pad to deny the winger on the breakaway, while Greg Printz was close to breaking the deadlock when his shot was not gloved safely by Kevin Carr but his rebound effort from in close was deflected over.
A great drive through the zones from Kohei Sato nearly set up a chance for Daniel Tedesco, but the winger couldn’t convert his line-mate’s pass. Some nice play from Printz and Oliver Cooper set up Ben Lake for the shot from the slot that whistled just wide, but the pressure finally told as the opening goal came at 9:58 when MacIntyre tipped in Cameron Pound’s shot. (0-1)
A quiet start to the middle frame was eventually ended when Chris McKay took a roughing penalty for Dundee, and even though Kohei Sato would join him in the box for goaltender interference, the Giants doubled their lead at 29:08 when Nazarian’s shot wasn’t held by Carr, and he was able to warp around the back of the net and poke in the loose puck himself. (0-2)
Another penalty, this time on Tedesco for slashing, gave the Stars another powerplay chance that they couldn’t take, although they did survive Carter Johnson hitting the post on a shot shortly before the infringement, and then James Phelan battled his way into the left circle only for Whistle to make the pad stop.
But the significant moment of the period came right at the end when McKay was ejected for a check to the head along the boards, putting Belfast on a five-minute powerplay; however, they couldn’t find a goal before the second intermission as Jeff Baum screamed a shot just wide as the seconds ticked down.
The Giants would be unable to add to their tally on the extended powerplay after the restart, and instead, Dundee would pull a goal back on a powerplay of their own, Sato punished for hooking and Spencer Naas, the man to snap home the finish from the left face-off dot at 49:41. (1-2)
Adam Keefe called the Giants’ time-out after the Stars’ goal, and it seemed to work wonders as Travis Brown drew a big save from Carr, and another penalty on Carter Allen for delay of the game put the visitors on the powerplay again, but once more it would come up empty-handed, while Dundee couldn’t convert on a Jacob Friend interference call.
However, with Carr pulled for the extra skater, the Stars’ gamble paid off as Naas grabbed his second of the game with just 47.9 seconds remaining, firing home from the edge of the left circle with the extra man to tie it up in the dying stages. (2-2)
Both sides had massive chances to win it in the extra frame, with MacIntyre denied on the breakaway by Carr, while Whistle made three incredible stops to firstly deny Dow, then Valentini twice on the same shift to take it to the shootout.
It would be the home side who would triumph on shots, Johnson, Naas and Valentini all netting with their first three attempts to claim the points as Carr stood tall to blank Ben Lake, Preston and Matt McLeod. (3-2)
Next up, the Belfast Giants return to The SSE Arena, Belfast to take on Fife Flyers for the first home game of 2024 on Saturday 6 January. Tickets are available here.