Stars stay second but slip in Cup !
Mixed fortunes this weekend for the Ultimate Windows Billingham Stars saw them collect a 6-3 NIHL One Moralee league win at Manchester followed by a 6 â€“ 2 reversal at the hands of Sutton Sting in the Cup.
At Manchester Stars were first to find the back of the net after 3 minutes Cal Davies struck on the power play. The Minotaurs sniper Lukas Zeman brought the Stars back to earth in the twelfth minute, however Cal Davies hit his second assisted by Ward and Munroe to edge Billingham ahead by the first break.
Cal Davies bagged his hat-trick as he stretched the Stars lead after 2 minutes of the second. On the halfway mark Manchesterâ€™s Lee Porritt pegged the visitors back to close the second Manchester 2 Billingham 3. A brace of Billingham goals from Jack Emerson and Richie Thornton put the Stars in control, but it was Czech import Lukas Zeman who cut the Stars lead with 9 minutes to play. A late marker from Stephen Wallace was eventually awarded after the goal judge assured the referee that the puck was over the line before the whistle was blown and the stars picked up a much needed 2 points away from home.
Terry Ward praised his sideâ€™s performance at Manchester;
â€œIt was an excellent performance in Manchester, we did what we had to do, they’re very good in their own rink. The lads really played well – they passed the puck around well and moved their team around well. They have a very dangerous forward who got 2 goals, after that we just shut him down and man-marked him. Paul Windridge deserves a mention for that – in the last period he just shut him down, kept his own game solid and stopped the other guy playingâ€.
â€œCal Davies scored 3 goals and got one assist – absolutely awesome. I don’t know where he got his energy from, he never stopped from start to finish, he worked and worked and workedâ€.
The Stars NIHL One Moralee win at Manchester saw them hang on to second place in the league as Blackburn succumbed to a single goal at Solway and Sutton lost to Sheffield Spartans.
On home ice 24 hours later the Stars faced Sutton Sting in the KD Flavell Welding Cup.
Stars were first off the mark as skipper Paul Windridge forced the opener on the power play assisted by Wallace and Davison. Suttonâ€™s first came following a Simon Offord long range pass that set up Chris Colegate one on one with Mark Watson, Colegate slid it under the pads of the Billingham goalie to pull the Sting level going into the first break.
Michael Bowman blasted the Stars ahead three minutes into the second, however that lead only lasted six minutes before Chris Colegate hit his second assisted by Robinson and Stuart-Dant.
Two further second period markers, one from Canadian Thomas Stuart-Dant and one from Myles Dacres made it 4-2 in favour of the visitors by the second break. The Stars could find no answer to the Sting in the third and the visitors added another two when Jamie Spurr hit their fifth on the 45 minute mark before Chris Sykes sealed a 6 â€“ 2 win for the Sting 3 minutes from time.
Stars Coach Terry Ward thought the Stars worked hard for two periods against Sutton;
â€œI thought the first two periods we worked hard, we did what we had to do, but the third period we lost our way totally. We took some silly penalties and lost our game plan. We gave them chances and you can’t give a team like Sutton chances.
I think Sutton will be in the play-offs come the end of the season – hopefully with us and Blackburn. It’s going to be some play-offs I think – every team can beat every team in this league and that’s how it’s panned out all season so farâ€.
When Ward was asked about next weekendâ€™s derby game at Hillheads he hopes it has the making of a classic;
â€œLooking ahead to next week’s derby – I spoke to Simon (Leach) after the derby here and he was bitterly disappointed at the effort they put into the game so I’m expecting them to come out firing on all cylinders. We’ll have to do exactly the same so it bodes well for a fantastic derby gameâ€.
Ward was asked about the injured Michael Elder and Andy Finn;
â€œUnfortunately Michael Elder came back a little bit too early and injured himself – I don’t know if he’ll be ready for next week. Andy Finn – we’ve got our fingers crossed after his operation, we’re hoping that’s going to come good and he’ll be able to play soonâ€.