Game on !!
The Ultimate Windows Sponsored Billingham Stars will at last get their 2013 play-off campaign underway with a trip to Sheffield on Sunday afternoon (face off 4.15pm) to face The Sutton Sting.
With Billingham finishing the league as runners up to Solway Sharks the Teesside club have made the play-off competition their main focus since late January and as defending play-off champions were keen to defend their title.
Stars Team manager Allen Flavell confirmed the Stars will focus on winning the battle on the ice;
â€œIt seemed we were going in ever decreasing circles and not getting anywhere, we had the right under the rules of competition as the higher placed club to choose the play off datesâ€.
â€œThe longer the negotiations went on the greater the damage to the Competition and the sport of Ice Hockey, weâ€™ve received the backing from lots of other clubs and coaches, but we realised we have a responsibility to our players, fans and sponsors to get the games underwayâ€.
â€œAfter a week of tense negotiations it became clear Billingham would have to compromise to keep the competition aliveâ€.
â€œOur players have trained hard for these play-offs and they are rearing to go, we will be at almost full strength for our trip to Sheffield on Sundayâ€.
â€œSutton will be making the return trip to Billingham Ice Arena on Sunday 21st April 18:30 face offÂ for the second leg and we are keen to fill the forum and make it a night to remember for the right reasonsâ€.
â€œThe two semi-finals will be hard fought battles, and should be an excellent advert for Ice Hockey â€œ…
The Stars finished their 30 game league campaign 10 points clear of the Sting but honours between the teams have been even with two draws and a win to both sides.
Stars will be at almost full strength with only Dave Thomas missing. Andy Finn will make a welcome return and Ben Davison will also return to the stars line up.
Sutton has a strong offense with Simon Butterworth and Ryan Johnson in the top 10 scorers. At the back Dmitri Zimozdra racked his pads to pick up third place in the leagues goalie stats behind Billingham`s Mark Watson and top placed Solwayâ€™s Gary Russell.
With Blackburn and Solway completing both legs of their semi-final this weekend, the eventual winner of the Billingham v Sutton semi-final will head into a two legged play off final on the weekend of 27th and 28th April.
Season ticket holders will be granted free entry into Sundayâ€™s game,on production of their season ticket, after the last home gamer of the season was cancelled due to Snow.