Weekend Report 13th October 2019
Ultimate Windows sponsored Billingham Stars picked up their first National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 points of the season on Sunday night when they made hard work of a short-benched Blackburn Hawks at the Forum, eventually running out 9-5 winners.
Arriving on Teesside with just 12 skaters, it was still the visitors who made the better start. The warning signs were there within the first 90 seconds as Stars netminder Mark Turnbull kicked away a Petr Valusiak effort, but they were not heeded and Joe Greaves duly opened the scoring on 3.31 with a shot through the five-hole. It took until 3.50 for the home side to even register a shot on goal, but once they did Billingham instantly kicked up a gear and drew level 13 seconds later when captain Michael Elder fired a wrist shot past Hawks goaltender Niks Trapans. A scrappy first twenty saw chances for both sides, including a gilt-edged opportunity for Valusiak that saw him miss a seemingly open net, but as time wore on the hosts ground their opponents down and finally moved ahead on 18.17 when Ben Davison managed to squeeze his effort past Trapans on the wraparound. There was time left to widen the gap, some hard work from Chris Sykes behind the net came out to Jack Emerson for a few jabs in front of Trapans, the loose puck eventually falling to Michael Bowman to finish on 19.07.
Blackburn again started the middle session brightly, Tom Revesz hitting the post in the 22nd minute before Sean Jones forced a solid stop from Turnbull a minute later. The Stars found that extra gear once more however, Tomáš Rubeš gliding around the back of the net and finding Elder lurking out front for the one-timer on 23.15. Billingham now dominating possession, the chances kept coming but had to wait until just past the halfway mark when James Moss danced around the edge of the zone and fired one in that found the roof of Trapans’ net on 30.37. Just 12 seconds later it was 6, Billingham surging forward from their defensive zone, Daniel Silar with the final touch. The hosts continued to harry their guests and were rewarded with a seventh on 36.14 when Silar capitalised on a netminder error.
Harrison Walker replaced Trapans between the pipes at the start of the third period, and with the Stars seemingly on go-slow mode Blackburn made a game of it. Greaves got his and his side’s second with a power play effort on the spin on 44.57, then on 46.36 Revesz was on hand to knock the puck in after Billingham failed to clear their lines. At the other end Walker was doing his best to frustrate the home threat, Craig Thurston, Bowman and Rubeš all denied by the netminder’s glove. Silar bagged a hat trick on 53.29 with a breakaway goal, Valusiak cancelling it out a minute later to keep the gap at four. A spirited final session performance for the visitors was rewarded on 57.56 when James Riddoch potted home a rebound off the back boards, but the final word went to the Stars, Rubeš finally getting the better of Walker to make the final score 9-5.
Man-of-the-Match for the Stars was Daniel Silar.
Daniel Silar 3+0; Michael Elder 2+0; James Moss 1+3; Tomáš Rubeš 1+2; Michael Bowman 1+1; Ben Davison 1+1; Chris Sykes 0+2; Andy Finn 0+1; Jack Emerson 0+1; Callum Davies 0+1; Darren Stattersfield 0+1
SOG: Mark Turnbull 30 (12 / 9 / 9)
Joe Greaves 2+0; Petr Valusiak 1+4; Tom Revesz 1+0; James Riddoch 1+0; James Neil 0+3
SOG: Niks Trapans 31 (12 / 19); Harrison Walker 18
Hear post-game thoughts and analysis from Billingham Stars TV:
Billingham are in action in both competitions next weekend, on the road at Sutton Sting for a National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 match-up on Saturday 19th October (face off 7.30pm) followed by a trip up to Murrayfield Racers on Sunday 20th October (face off 6pm) in the NIHL North Cup.
Nottingham Lions 0 Whitley Warriors 8
Billingham Stars 9 Blackburn Hawks 5
Image credit: Tony Burgum Photography