Stars 4 Sting 3.

Michael Bowman forces the puck under Zimodra in the Sutton goal.

Michael Bowman forces the puck under Zimodra in the Sutton goal.

A 4-3 win over Sutton Sting for Ultimate Windows sponsored Billingham Stars could not keep the Teesside club at the top of the NIHL 1 table.

Results for other sides meant that Solway Sharks and Whitley Warriors both hopped above the Stars who now sit in third slot equal on points to Whitley; however Solway took the full four points available from two games this weekend and claimed top spot.

 

Team

P

W

D

L

F

A

=/-

Pts

Solway Sharks

8

7

0

1

46

24

+22

14

Whitley Warriors

8

5

2

1

45

23

+22

12

Billingham Stars

8

6

0

2

38

16

+22

12

Blackburn Hawks

8

4

1

3

42

14

+28

9

Sheffield Spartans

9

4

1

4

32

30

+2

9

Manchester Minotaurs

10

3

1

6

50

51

-1

7

Sutton Sting

7

2

1

4

40

38

+2

5

Telford Titans

10

0

0

10

18

115

-97

0

 

Although Sutton are languishing second bottom, the Stars went into the game fully aware of the offensive strength on the Sutton bench, strengthened further by former Billingham Star Adam Robinson.

With Stephen Wallace side-lined Andy Thornton was given the chance to impress as he stepped into the vacant first line forwards slot.

Two early chances for the Stars saw Mike Elder hit the pipes and an Andy Thornton wrap around effort stopped by the Sutton keeper.

The opener came inevitably from former Stars Adam Robinson who fired home assisted by Corefield and Stuart-Dant in the twelfth minute.

Five minutes later the Stars tied with the goal of the game blasted from the point, youngster Jack Davies sent Zimodras water bottle flying as he released a laser of a shot to tie the game.

Jack Davies is congratulated by Ben and Richie after his blast from the point.

Michael Bowman moved the Stars ahead with just over a minute to play in the first session as he forced the puck over through a crowded crease to close the first Billingham 2 Sutton 1.

Some good play between skipper Paul Windridge and Andy Thornton helped set up Michael Bowman for his second of the night and the only goal of the second period.

The third session got underway with Billingham appearing in control after four minutes of play James Moss made it 4 – 1 to the Stars assisted by Elder and Davies.

With less than 10 minutes to go Steve Brown awarded the Sutton Sting a penalty shot after Andy Finn laid on the puck in his own crease. The puck was placed centre spot and Richard Oliver set off against Flavell in the Billingham goal. Oliver picked his spot and fired early and low beat Flavell and cut the Stars lead to 2 goals.

With just over 2 minutes to play in the game a high sticks call against Stars Richie Thornton put the sting on the power-play, Sutton made it count when a deflected Jamie Spurr shot looped over the shoulder of Flavell in the Stars goal and cut the Stars lead to 4-3. The Sting could sense an opportunity so following a time out they pulled goalie Dmitri Zimozdra and pushed hard for an equaliser. Billingham’s Garry Dowd was unlucky after he bounced some shots off the boards that looked bound for the empty net but were saved at the last minute by a back skating Sutton.

The Stars hung on to their lead and the game closed Billingham Stars 4 Sutton Sting 3.

Speaking after the game Stars Head Coach Terry Ward felt his side had played to Suttons weaknesses whilst containing their strengths

“I thought we were in control of the game pretty much throughout the game. The last couple of minutes were a bit frayed – the ref gave them a penalty shot, and it was a penalty shot, no dispute over that. But the call on Richie Thornton at the end I didn’t think was a very good call but what can you do about that? You’ve just got to get up and play. We made some errors and they made it 4-3 when really it should have been closed out”.

“They’ve got excellent forwards and Adam is a great player, adding to their collection of great forwards. We thought they were a bit weak on defence so that’s where we played to our strengths, dumping it, getting in behind them and trying to get hold of the puck, which we did quite successfully. We missed a lot of chances though, we created a lot and we missed a lot – I’m sure some of the lads will want some of those shots back”.

“Jack and Luke on the third line were unlucky to just get the one goal – they had a few chances, so things are looking bright for the future with them youngsters”.

With an eye on next week’s return match against Sutton, Ward hopes that the Stars will see Wallace back in action;

“We’re hoping Stephen will be back next week, obviously he sustained a bad injury last week – we’re hoping he’ll get the stitches out this week and he’s going to be back playing again”.

“The bigger pad at Ice Sheffield makes it a different game next week, with more room for the forwards. They won’t be relishing it too much with the defence they have at the moment, they are very short on defence”.

Assistant coach and double scorer Michael Bowman was also pleased with the Stars performance;

“I was pleased with the result, definitely. We played some really good stuff. We had a lot of chances, we seemed to get tired, and started to sit back and try to defend too much. There was a lot of pressure on us towards the end and we made things difficult for ourselves, but we worked hard”.

“They were short on D tonight and we tried to capitalise on that as much as we could but they’re dangerous going forward – a couple of little mistakes and they capitalised on it”.

“I thought Andy did well on the first line with a lot of shots on the net. A lovely goal from Jack Davies too – he works very hard in training, I was really pleased with him”.

“Tonight’s game was further proof that the league is a lot tighter this year and you have to play for 60 minutes or you’ll struggle to get a result”.

There is no home game next weekend and the Stars will be in action at Ice Sheffield on Sunday November 10th as they again take on Sutton Sting, Face off 19:30.

Man of the Match for the Ultimate Windows Billingham Stars...Michael Bowman.

Man of the Match for the Ultimate Windows Billingham Stars…Michael Bowman.

 

Man of the Match for Sutton Sting Adam Robinson.

Man of the Match for Sutton Sting Adam Robinson.

You may also like...