Stars Continue Push For Top Spot
Oxford City Stars took to home ice seeking two points to continue their push for the league top spot. The opening period saw Stars dominate possession and territory, restricting the visitors to the odd break away chance which Stars netminder John Dibble was able to deal with. Stars best moves were being orchestrated by the influential Lee Richardson. It was Richardson who went close with Stars first chance as Ross Miller in the visitor’s goal manged to make the save. Conor Redmond had the best Stars chance in the first 10 minutes but his final touch let him down. Stars took the lead in the 12th minute when Joe Edwards scored on what was to be his final appearance for the Stars at Oxpens Road, with the assists going to Josh Oliver and Josh Florey. Two minutes later Stars doubled their lead when Redmond seemed to almost touch the puck out of Millers glove to find the net.
The second period started well for the visitors when just 5 seconds after Stars Martyn Gray was assessed a 2-minute penalty, Bristol found the net from David Manning. Three minutes later the Pitbulls were level when Ollie Shone tapped in after Dibble had made the initial save from Sam Shone. The large Saturday crowd were in for a treat as the play ebbed and flowed and individual contests started to shape up, no more so than Stars Michal Oravec and Bristol’s Mike Hargreaves, who both incurred the wrath of Referee Fraley wrath as he sent them both to the penalty box. Stars were to take the lead into the second interval when Tom Davis fired the puck past Miller, after good work by Redmond and Richardson.
Stars regrouped after the late goal in the 2nd period and the 2nd interval and extended their lead back to 2 goals when Davis finished after exquisite work from Richardson. Both netminders made big glove saves to keep their teams in the game as both sets of forwards looked for the next goal. The excitement in the crowd was to reach fever pitch when Bristol’s Olly Shone collided into the back of Stars Dibble to leave the Stars netminder laying face down on the ice. Stars newest signing James Buckingham stepped in and a fight ensued with Shone being assessed penalties for interference as well as for fighting. Buckingham was ejected from the game being assessed on “3rd man in” penalty. A further penalty on Bristol, late on in the game meant that Stars were able to play out the final minutes of the game camped around the Bristol goal.
A 4-2 win then for the Stars who travel to Cardiff, next Sunday (6pm Face Off) and the following week, in a change to the originally published fixture visit Peterborough on Saturday 2nd February, in a game that was originally scheduled for 24 hours later.