Ultimate Windows sponsored Billingham Stars

ULTIMATE WINDOWS sponsored Billingham Stars got what they deserved for their tepid display in the Tyne-Tees derby at Whitley Warriors on Sunday as they were blanked 5-0 in the penultimate weekend of National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 action.

The weather having put paid to Saturday’s fixture at Telford Tigers, the Stars went into Sunday’s clash with local rivals Whitley having had no training sessions and no game the night before. The lack of ice time showed immediately as the Warriors dominated from the first drop of the puck and moved ahead with less than a minute played, netminder James Flavell beaten on the wraparound by Player/Coach David Longstaff after the Teessiders failed to clear the defensive zone. Whitley continued to have the better of the play for the opening ten minutes, Martin Crammond going close when he picked up a loose puck in the fifth minute, before the Stars eventually started to find a little rhythm and string some passes together. A short spell of pressure around the 15-minute mark saw Warriors goaltender Richie Lawson fumble a Chris Sykes effort, but fortunately for Lawson the puck dropped just wide of the post. A minute later and a drop pass from Deniss Baškatovs found James Moss, but he could only put his shot straight at Lawson for a routine save. Caught by a swift counterattack, the visitors found themselves two down on 17 minutes as Dean Holland tapped in at the back stick from a Callum Watson pass.

The hosts started the middle session as they had the first, pinning the Stars into their own zone and trying to work a way through to Flavell. They had the puck in the net in the 23rd minute when Flavell just let one trickle through his pads, but the play had already been blown down by referee David Emmerson. The home side’s hard work eventually paid off in the 27th minute, Jordan Barnes finding the net after being set up by Longstaff. Billingham briefly stirred into a response, Lawson had to stand firm as he blocked a shot from Matthew Campbell before saving between his pads from Ross Hanlon in the 28th minute. At the other end, Flavell made a pad save from DJ Good in the 31st minute before making an excellent last-gasp grab to deny Ben Richards four minutes later. Late chances fell to Shaun Kippin and Watson for the hosts, but they could not extend their lead.

Desperate to get something out of the game, the Stars started the final session a little brighter, Sykes almost capitalising on a loose puck at the far post on 43 minutes. Player/Coach Michael Bowman found Lawson’s middle two minutes later before James Hellens fired over the cross bar in the 46th minute. A slashing call against Baškatovs just past the 47-minute mark seemed to take the remaining fight out of the visitors and they allowed their hosts to get back on top of the game. An error at centre ice let in Kippin in the 50th minute one-on-one with Flavell, and he made no mistake to make it four, then three minutes later Harry Harley put the icing on the cake with a backhand effort past Flavell’s glove. An incident late in the game saw Holland despatched on a game misconduct for abuse of an official but it made no difference to the final outcome as the Warriors ran out comfortable winners.

Man-of-the-Match for Billingham was Ethan Hehir.

Warriors Stats:

Dean Holland 1+1; Jordan Barnes 1+1; David Longstaff 1+1; Shaun Kippin 1+0; Harry Harley 1+0; Callum Watson 0+1; Liam Smedley 0+1; Philip Edgar 0+1;

SOG: Richie Lawson 44 (14 / 14 / 16)

Stars Stats:

SOG: James Flavell 52 (14 / 16 / 22)

The Stars’ Director of Coaching Terry Ward could not contain his frustration at his side’s lack of passion:

“We haven’t shown what we can do in this game. We had a few chances early on after they’d scored – we put them away and it makes a big difference to the game – but Whitley had the heart and the desire, they wanted it so much more than we did. Our intensity on the puck wasn’t good enough, they came out too flat at the start of every period and it’s just so disappointing.”

The final weekend of the regular season in National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 sees Billingham travel to Blackburn Hawks in Saturday 10th March (face off 5.45pm), followed by the final North East derby game as the Stars host Whitley Warriors at the Forum on Sunday 11th March (face off 6.30pm).


Weekend Results:


Telford Tigers P Billingham Stars P

Hull Pirates 8 Blackburn Hawks 2

Solway Sharks P The Dragons P

Sheffield Steeldogs 7 Whitley Warriors 0

Whitley Warriors 5 Billingham Stars 0

Blackburn Hawks 0 Sheffield Steeldogs 2

The Dragons 1 Telford Tigers 17

Solihull Barons 5 Solway Sharks 3

Nottingham Lions 1 Hull Pirates 7


All images courtesy of Colin Edwards