Two tough Games for Stars !!!
Ultimate Windows sponsored Billingham Stars face a tough double game weekend commencing on Saturday night with a trip to Scots side Solway Sharks in the KD Flavell & Sons Northern Cup, and then a return to home ice league action will see them host the Blackburn Hawks (face off 18:30) at the Tees Active Billingham Forum Ice Arena on Sunday night.
Billingham became the first side this season to take any league points of the Solway Sharks when they beat them 6-3 in a very physical thriller at Billingham Ice Arena earlier this month. The Stars will be hoping to repeat that performance and become the first team to take Northern Cup points of last seasonâ€™s league and cup champions.
The first defeat of the season for the Sharks was made even more memorable by an incident with 7 minutes to play that resulted in Â the sending off of their goalie after Billingham scored their sixth goal of the game.
The Stars return to home ice action on Sunday night when they host last seasonâ€™s play-off champions the Blackburn Hawks in NHL 1 Moralee conference action. The Stars will be hoping to replicate their cup performance of two weeks ago when they sent the Hawks back to Lancashire on the back of a 4-1 defeat, in a game that saw Stars goalie Mark Watson cruelly denied his first shutout of the season when Hawks registered their only goal of the match with just ten seconds left on the clock.
Stars Head Coach Terry Ward is confident his side are ready for the weekends challenging fixtures;
â€œThe lads are up for the weekend – they’ve had a chance to recuperate with last weekend off, the bruises and knocks have gone downâ€.
â€œWe’re looking forward to two really big games – Solway will be looking for revenge as we beat them here in the league, and so will Blackburn because we beat them last time out tooâ€.
â€œThey’ll be two tough games as teams you’ve beaten last time tend to come back at you twice as hardâ€.
â€œWe will have to be on top of our game, the boys all know that. Unfortunately we’ll be a bit short for the trip to Solway as the under 19s have a game so we’ll be missing 3 or 4 of the guysâ€.
â€œI spoke with the Solway coach after our last game and he was disappointed with the way they reacted, especially when we scored goals and they got penalties straight afterwards. I think he will have corrected that straight awayâ€.
â€œI think we saw the true Blackburn in the Cup last time out, we have to take a lot of credit for the way we out worked them and out smarted them – we played really well. We have to do it all over again – you can’t afford to take a night off against anybody in this league. Blackburn have got a good side so we know we have to be on top form to take the points away from themâ€.
Stars will receive a boost by the return of Martyn Davies from injury, and the return to training of Dave Thomas, however long term injury Anthony Price remains side-lined.
A late fitness test for Dave Thomas could see him make his season debut this weekend.
Across the Pennines Blackburn Hawks were dealt a late blow as their Captain Chris Arnone picked up a 2 game English Ice Hockey Association ban following inappropriate social media comments against an EIHA match official.
Arnone will miss two league games the first on Saturday against Sutton Sting and Sunday nightâ€™s Billingham Stars game.
Tickets for Sundays Blackburn game go on sale at 5.30pm from the Ice Arena box office, Adults Â£7.50, Kids and concessions Â£5, Family ticket Â£22.