Stars Aim To Draw Sting

ULTIMATE WINDOWS sponsored Billingham Stars will follow up last Sunday’s draw at North East neighbours Whitley Warriors by aiming to go one better on the road on Sunday evening as they travel to iceSheffield to take on Sutton Sting in National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1.

Dimitri Zimozdra denies the Stars

Dmitri Zimozdra denies the Stars

A bogey team for the Stars away from home last season, Sutton had a relatively quiet off-season and did not reveal the majority of their squad until the eve of their campaign getting underway. With the core of last year’s side retained, the Sting then upset rink-share rivals Sheffield Senators by poaching Latvian defenseman Sergejs Jegorovs just weeks into the new season. Despite having the usually impressive Dmitri Zimozdra between the pipes once again Sutton have so far failed to set the League alight, winning just two of their first eight games to leave them languishing just a place off the foot of the table. Their games at iceSheffield have all been tight, hard-fought affairs however, and Billingham will need to avoid putting in the sort of performances that saw them concede 14 goals whilst scoring just two in their games away to the Sting last year.

Stars in action at Sutton last season

Stars in action at Sutton last season

The Stars bounced back from a dismal run of form to grab a point at second-placed Whitley in last Sunday’s North East derby on Tyneside. A shake-up of lines and tactics appeared to pay off as Billingham stuck to their systems and successfully forced their opponents to play much of the game out wide, thus reducing scoring opportunities. A four-all draw was a fair result for both sides, but a point at Hillheads has been a massive boost for the faltering Stars as they look to put their bad run behind them. The coaching team may have some selection headaches should both Michael Elder and Callum Davies pass late fitness tests, and in a further boost Billingham will welcome back Jack Davies after a month-long lay-off. With the under-20s available, the Stars should travel with a full bench, only long-term injury victim Jamie Pattison certain to miss out.

Jack back for Stars

Jack back for Stars

Billingham’s Director of Coaching Terry Ward reiterated his side’s commitment to trying to win every game:

“We don’t ever go into a game and not think we can’t win it. This is an important tie for us and we have to go into it thinking that we can get the points. Sutton destroyed us in two games there last season, but we need to remember that we beat them twice at the Forum. iceSheffield has proved tricky for us in the past but the room we get to play should mean more space for our more skilful players to do some real damage.

Changing the lines around seemed to work quite well for us last week, so I can’t see us just going back to how things were. It’s important that everyone keeps on their toes and continues to put in full shifts every time they step onto the ice. If the whole squad pulls its weight then there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t beat anyone in this League.”

Billingham travel to iceSheffield to take on Sutton Sting in a National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 clash on Sunday afternoon, face off 5.15pm.

 

Weekend Fixtures:

League:

Sheffield Senators v Whitley Warriors, 3.45pm Saturday

Telford Tigers NIHL v Sheffield Spartans, 5.30pm Saturday

Sutton Sting v Billingham Stars, 5.15pm Sunday

Blackburn Hawks v Sheffield Senators, 5.45pm Sunday

Solihull Barons v Telford Tigers NIHL, 6pm Sunday

Cup:

Solway Sharks v Blackburn Hawks, 7pm Saturday

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