Ward Expects Barons Battle
ULTIMATE WINDOWS sponsored Billingham Stars are back on the road as they attempt to keep up their recent good form in National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 on Sunday evening with a trip to Solihull Barons.
Newly promoted Barons have made a good start to life back in Division 1, currently sitting one place above Billingham in fourth place, however they faltered last weekend with defeats at Solway and Telford. Prior to that however Solihull were in impressive form, recording victories over both Sheffield sides as well as inflicting a 3-5 defeat on the Stars at the Forum last month. Thomas Soar is the man in form for the Barons, the 22-year-old forward on a two-way contract with Solihull and Elite League side Coventry Blaze. Although he has yet to ice for the top tier outfit, he has racked up an impressive 31 points so far for the Barons including scoring the killer fifth goal against Billingham.
The Stars are looking to maintain the momentum they have built up in their last three games, two wins against Sutton Sting and a hard-fought draw in the Tyne-Tees derby hauling them up the League to fifth. A win over fourth-placed Solihull would narrow the gap between the Teessiders and the play-off places to just one point, with no better motivation than to avenge that loss to the Barons just four weeks ago. Billingham will make the trek down to the Midlands with a strong squad, just Scott Ward and Jamie Pattison still missing for the Stars, and will continue with the line combinations that have worked so well for them in recent games.
Billinghamâ€™s Director of Coaching Terry Ward expects another close game at Hobs Moat Road:
â€œItâ€™s been a while since we made the journey to Solihull, and itâ€™s a long way to go so we donâ€™t intend to travel all that way for no reward. The rink down there can be quite hostile â€“ they have a passionate, loud home support but that suits us. Iâ€™m looking forward to the game because the one up here was closely contested, they just got that bit of luck at the end to get the win.
Theyâ€™re on a bit of a run at the minute the same as we are, only theirs is a bad one. We will be going with a game plan and sticking to it, hopefully we can make sure that both teams continue their current form! They have caused everyone plenty of problems though as we have found out to our cost, we need to make sure we keep an eye on their big players and use the atmosphere to our advantage. Keeping our discipline will be important â€“ we just cannot afford to spend as much time in the penalty box as we have been doing. We need to keep up our intensity and take the game to the Barons â€“ we can close the gap on them with a win so thatâ€™s got to be the aim.â€
Billingham travel to the Midlands to take on Solihull Barons in a National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 encounter on Sunday evening, face off 6pm,
Sheffield Spartans v Solway Sharks, 3.45pm Saturday
Telford Tigers NIHL v Sheffield Senators, 5.30pm Sunday
Sutton Sting v Solway Sharks, 4.15pm Sunday
Solihull Barons v Billingham Stars, 6pm Sunday
Sheffield Spartans v Whitley Warriors, 6.15pm Sunday
Sunday’s game will be broadcast live via NIHL Radio.
All images courtesy of Ryan Deprez.