Stars Return To Winning Ways
While the vast majority of the nation were out celebrating Guy Fawkes weekend visiting various firework displays, City Stars fans made their way down to Oxpens Road in their masses to support their team in an explosive display against the Chelmsford Chieftains, who were previously undefeated so far this season. With the Stars looking to bounce back from their recent defeat to the Guildford Phoenix and Chelmsford looking to continue their winning streak it was guaranteed that both teams were going to fight tooth and nail to walk away with the win.
Despite starting off strong, things didn’t start as well as Oxford wanted with the Chieftains being the first team to get themselves on the scoreboard. Just over 7 minutes into the opening period Ross Brears scored with assistance from Grant Bartlett and James Ayling. The remainder of the period entertained a flurry of penalties being awarded to both teams as well as a small altercation between Dax Hedges and Ross Cowan.
The following period, once again, seemed as if the Chieftains were going to add to their lead, but thankfully for the Stars the match officials ruled that the goal was to be disallowed, keeping the advantage for the visitors halted at only one goal. This was immediately followed by a Stars penalty, which saw Alex Staples sit out for 2 minutes. Chelmsford pushed hard on their powerplay to reclaim their goal, but were denied each chance they had by the even greater efforts of defensive play from the Stars. After a bit more end-to-end play the Chieftains earned themselves a trip to the sin bin to which the Stars took full advantage of their power play to score their first goal of the evening. Josh Oliver found a way past the Chieftains’ netminder with some help from Dom Hopkins and Joe Edwards. From here the pace started gathering more and more velocity. It wasn’t long after that Joe Edwards scored the Stars second goal to double their lead. This time it was Michal Oravec assisting on the goal.
The third period is where the Stars consolidated their victory with exceptional defensive play, including a number of impressive saves for John Dibble, who spent the night between the pipes for Oxford. With a spell of being down by two skaters on a 3-on-5 penalty kill, the Stars successfully killed of their penalty and came back with full force as soon as they returned to full strength. The Chieftains hit back by making a couple of solid shifts leading up to the gloves coming off as tempers between the two teams were finally lost between the two sides. The resulting penalties were 2+2 minutes for Joe Edwards, Josh Florey, Charlie Phillips and Grant Bartlett with Bartlett also getting himself and added 2 minutes for cross checking. In less words the Stars were on the power play. At the same stoppage in play, with one and a half minutes left on the clock, Chelmsford unsurprisingly called a timeout. A section of the remaining time after play continued was played without a goalie protecting the net. At the point of Conor Redmond getting the final penalty of the evening for hooking, the Chieftains made their move to give themselves an advantage of 6 skaters to 4. However, despite the best efforts of their opponents and the passion of their fans, the Stars remained strong to keep from conceding any more goals. Eventually the buzzer sounded and sealed the deal on the victory of 3 goals to 1 to the Oxford City Stars.