No Slip ups !!
Ultimate Windows sponsored Billingham Stars have the luxury of a single game weekend when Sunday nights visitors to Billingham Forums Ice Arena are bottom of the table Telford Titans.
The Shropshire based Titans are yet to register a win this season having conceded a mammoth 185 goals in 17 games.
However the feel good factor at Telfords Premier league side the Tigers is starting to filter through to the NIHL side the Titans.
At the start of this season the Telford Tigers Premier league side were bought out by former child hood fan US based Wayne Scholes now CEO of Red Touch Media Ltd. Scholes was born in Telford and followed the club in his childhood and previously worked for the Telford club in the 80s.
Now based in Salt Lake City, Scholes has set his ambitions to take the Telford club to the top of UK Ice hockey. The knock on effect for the Titans appears that the Premier league side are prepared to allow a number of players to play NIHL.
Last weekend saw former Whitley Warriors goalie Tom Murdy, Macauley Haywood and Dan Harrison bolster the Titans bench for their game against Blackburn Hawks.The boost of the Premier league players saw Titans 5-4 ahead in the second having battled back from a 3 â€“ 0 deficit.However it was not to be, as Blackburn turned up the heat to run out 10 â€“ 6 winners.
Stars will be without Andy Finn, a late fitness test on Mike Elder and goalie James Flavell will present coaches Ward and Bowman with some line juggling but nothing like the injury headaches of 2 weeks ago.
Second placed Stars know that a win this weekend is vital to keep Sutton and Blackburn at bay. With Sutton at Blackburn tomorrow night the winners would leapfrog the Stars if the Teessiderâ€™s become the Titans first scalp of the season.
Stars manager Allen Flavell knows that the Telford game could prove to be a potential banana skin;
â€œItâ€™s inevitable that Telford will get their first win at some point and after their performance against Blackburn last weekend it would be fool hardy for us to write them offâ€.
â€œWe had a very close game against them last October we scraped a 4 â€“ 3 win, they seem to be a side that donâ€™t travel in any great numbers, however the boost that their Premier league side have had does now seem to be filtering down to their NIHL squad and thatâ€™s something we would ignore at our perilâ€.
As the focus now turns to league run in, and play off qualification its fair to say that there are six sides Solway, Billingham, Sutton, Blackburn, Whitley and Sheffield all jostling for the top four slots and a trip to Dumfries for the new format play off finals weekend.
The Billingham club this week announced that Andy Thornton was still on the Stars roster however increased work load in his final year of studies has meant that the utility forward will not be available for the league run in.
Tickets for Sunday nightâ€™s game go on sale at the Billingham Forum Ice Arena box office from 17:45 priced Adults Â£7.50, Concessions Â£5, Family Â£22 (2+2).