Match Report 27th January 2019
Ultimate Windows sponsored Billingham Stars fell to a sharp-shooting Hull Pirates side in National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 on Sunday, the Humberside outfit keeping up the pressure at the top of the table with a 2-10 victory.
The Pirates arrived on Teesside with fresh legs after their scheduled clash with fellow title rivals Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday evening was postponed due to issues with the ice plant in Hull. The visitors got just the start they wanted – 40 seconds had elapsed when Hull’s forward line crashed the net and Bobby Chamberlain was on hand to poke the puck under Stars netminder James Flavell, the keeper unhappy that referee Robin Elliott did not blow up for netminder interference. Billingham got themselves back into the game but found the luck in front of net that had deserted them last Sunday had not returned as Craig Thurston saw his seventh minute shot come off the bar, Ethan Hehir tipped just over and Chris Sykes shot straight at Pirates goaltender Ash Smith. Hull always looked dangerous coming forward however, and they eventually doubled their lead on 15.28 when the hosts lost sight of the puck in the neutral zone, Lubomir Korhon collected and took a hopeful punt towards goal and Jason Hewitt was on hand to chip the rebound into the far corner on the backhand. Just over two minutes later and the advantage was three, another rebound this time falling to Lee Bonner for the finish and a comfortable first interval lead.
If the Stars were unlucky to go in three down at the break, then their collective spirit was broken with a three-goal blast in less than a minute as the second period caught fire. It started with Billingham’s inability to clear behind the net, the puck eventually coming free to Josh Gent on the near post who then found the incoming James Chilcott for the smash home on 25.35. Just 18 seconds after the restart a scramble in front of the net saw Chamberlain tap past the stranded Flavell, then Korhon completed the mini-rout on 26.31 to take the game out of sight. Reeling, the Stars had to cling on as Hull kept up the pressure and they weathered the storm until the 33rd minute when Bonner squared to Sam Towner for a wrist shot high past Flavell and 0-7. A minute later Billingham got a goal back, Ben Davison releasing Sykes to go one-on-one with Smith and he made no mistake with his shot high past the glove. The gap was narrowed further when the Stars capitalised on a calamitous Hull line change that left the home side with four players in front of Smith, Sykes tapping across for Kristers Bormanis to finish on 38.48. The Pirates had the last word on the session however, Hewitt finding the roof of the net with 52 seconds remaining.
Hewitt started where he left off with a snipe past Flavell with just 27 seconds of the final stanza gone. Billingham kept plugging away but still could not find their shooting sticks as Michael Bowman and James Moss saw chances go begging. The scoring was completed on 48.41 as Chamberlain put the visitors into double figures, but the session was marred by a couple of unsavoury incidents that saw James Archer and Bonner thrown out of the game, Archer for targeting former Hull forward CainTaylor and instigating a fight, Bonner for a nasty slash across the legs of Bormanis. The Stars survived a late five-on-three power play as Sykes and Richie Thornton disputed an interference call given against Shaun Galloway, the Pirates skating away with the plaudits and both points.
Man-of-the-Match for Billingham was Michael Bowman.
Chris Sykes 1+1; Kristers Bormanis 1+0; Ben Davison 0+1; Ethan Hehir 0+1
SOG: James Flavell 47 (13 / 19 / 15)
Jason Hewitt 3+3 ; Bobby Chamberlain 3+1 ; Lubomir Korhon 1+4; Lee Bonner 1+1 ; James Chilcott 1+0; Sam Towner 1+0; Kevin Phillips 0+2; James Archer 0+1; Lee Haywood 0+1; Aaron Lyon 0+1; Josh Gent 0+1
SOG: Ash Smith 26 (9 / 5 / 12)
Billingham Stars TV captured the post-game reaction:
The Stars welcome Solihull Barons to the Forum for their only National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 fixture next Saturday 2nd February, face off 6pm.
Hull Pirates P Sheffield Steeldogs P
Solway Sharks 10 Blackburn Hawks 1
Sutton Sting 3 Telford Tigers 10
Blackburn Hawks 4 Sheffield Steeldogs 7
Sutton Sting 3 Solway Sharks 7
Telford Tigers P Whitley Warriors P
Billingham Stars 2 Hull Pirates 10
Nottingham Lions 2 Solihull Barons 8
Images courtesy of Linda Crabtree