One Game At A Time
ULTIMATE WINDOWS sponsored Billingham Stars put themselves back into the mix in the race for the National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 playoffs with a maximum haul of four points last weekend, and another win against fellow playoff chasers Telford Tigers NIHL at the Forum on Sunday evening is a must if they are to keep the dream alive.Telford will travel to Teesside looking for immediate revenge after the Stars took home both points and leapfrogged the Tigers into fourth place with a nail-biting 3-4 win in Shropshire last Saturday. The Tigers found it difficult to keep pace with Billingham, especially in the second period, despite icing a strong squad. Telford face a tough weekend in their battle to reach the end-of-season showpiece, a home derby against third-placed Solihull Barons tomorrow afternoon preceding their trip to the North East. The Stars gave themselves hope of making the playoffs with the perfect weekend last time out, but realistically they are still not seen as favourites to get there despite currently sitting in that all-important fourth place slot. The permutations are endless as four teams fight to secure the final two playoff berths, Solihull looking the safest. It is Solway Sharks that are the team on the up, and with games in hand over all of their rivals their destiny is under their own control. Nevertheless Billingham will continue to scrap for every point, and Sunday will see the Teessiders ice an almost full squad as they seek to put a nail into the coffin of the Tigers playoff hopes. Captain Paul Windridge will be rested as he recovers from surgery, Tom Keeley and Jack Davies the only other absentees. The Stars’ Director of Coaching Terry Ward says his side must concentrate on their own performances before they look to other teams to do them any favours:
“It really is one game at a time for us now. Yes we are relying on results to go our way elsewhere, but we can only control what happens in our own games and we will keep fighting. We have to worry about ourselves first before we look to others.
Last weekend was just the boost we needed. Two great performances from the lads just showed everyone what we are really capable of. We got back from Telford in the early hours of Sunday morning so for us to show up the way we did against Spartans was especially pleasing, and in front of so many new faces too. We will take the confidence we got from the game down in Telford into the home match – they had a strong bench but we still had full control of much of the game, we know we have the measure of the Tigers now.”Billingham host Telford Tigers in National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 at the Forum on Sunday evening, face off 6.30pm. Tickets can be bought from the box office from 5.30pm on game night priced at £10 adults, £6 concessions, £30 family [2+2].