Weekend Report 9th-10th March 2019
Ultimate Windows sponsored Billingham Stars’ miserable National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 season continues to limp to the finish line with two road defeats at the weekend, a desperately short blue line conceding 20 goals in the process.
The Stars travelled to title-chasing Hull Pirates on Saturday with a tough assignment made even harder by their small bench, just 13 skaters making the trip to a rink that had seen the Teessiders on the wrong end of two heavy defeats already this campaign. The home side predictably got off to a flyer, Swedish winger Sonny Karlsson with the opener on 5.20. Just over a minute later it was two, Lee Bonner with the first of his personal tally of three on the night. Billingham could not be faulted for their effort and kept the Pirates’ talented array of forwards at bay until 13.57 when Sam Towner made it three. With less than two minutes to go before the buzzer Towner found the back of the net once again, the game over as a contest after the first twenty.
The visitors came out for the second session minus Lithuanian Edgar Protčenko, the thin blue line stretched to just three regular defencemen. Perhaps predictably the floodgates opened, Jason Hewitt starting a six-goal period scoring bonanza on 23.02, followed in the next three minutes by Matty Davies and James Chilcott. Lubomir Korhon bagged a brace in a little over three minutes just past the game’s halfway mark before Chris Sykes registered Billingham’s sole reply on 38.05. Bonner rounded out the scoring in the final minute.
Callum Reynolds replaced James Flavell between the Stars’ pipes at the start of the third, and to the visitors’ credit they kept battling hard. The period was almost at its halfway point before Hull scored again, Korhon with his hat-trick on 49.03, but the Pirates were just too strong and continued to roll their top lines until the end, Bonner, Korhon and Bobby Chamberlain adding three further goals to make the final score a crushing 14-1.
Man-of-the-Match for Billingham was Craig Thurston.
Lubomir Korhon 4+2; Lee Bonner 3+3; Sam Towner 2+0; Matty Davies 1+5; Jason Hewitt 1+2; Bobby Chamberlain 1+2; Sonny Karlsson 1+2; James Chilcott 1+0; James Archer 0+1; Jordan Fisher 0+1; Chris Wilcox 0+1; Jonathan Kirk 0+1
SOG: Ash Smith 26 (8 / 11 / 7)
Chris Sykes 1+0; James Hellens 0+1
SOG: James Flavell 38 (19 / 19); Callum Reynolds 20
The Stars were able to add a few more bodies to their squad for Sunday’s Tyne-Tees derby at Hillheads against Whitley Warriors, but with Protčenko missing the back line still only had four recognised blue liners, Michael Bowman dropping back to help out. A bright start from the visitors was dampened when the hosts got the opener on the counter, Callum Watson potting home a Sam Zajac rebound on 2.42. It looked like another thrashing was on the cards when Ben Campbell doubled the advantage less than four minutes later, but with both sides missing their chances the period fizzled out with no further additions to the score.
Again Whitley were quick off the mark in the middle stanza, captain Dean Holland firing past Flavell’s glove from the blue line on 22.22. A low quality game continued to see chances at both ends but Billingham’s shots were not good enough to trouble Warriors’ netminder Jordan Boyle and at the other end Flavell frustrated the home side until 29.29 when DJ Good poked home a loose puck for 4-0.
The Stars clearly wanted to break Boyle’s shut-out early in the third period as James Moss and Michael Elder went close, but it was Whitley who were the more accurate in front of goal, Watson firing home on 47.21. He duly delivered his hat-trick with just over five minutes to go with a top corner effort to give his side local bragging rights for at least the next week, 6-0 the final score.
Man-of-the-Match for Billingham was Ethan Hehir.
Callum Watson 3+0; DJ Good 1+2; Ben Campbell 1+1; Dean Holland 1+0; Sam Zajac 0+2; Jordan Barnes 0+2; Shaun Kippin 0+1; Harry Harley 0+1; David Longstaff 0+1
SOG: Jordan Boyle 35 (13 / 11 / 11)
SOG: James Flavell 56 (17 / 22 / 17)
Speaking after Sunday’s game, the Stars’ Director of Coaching Terry Ward could not fault the effort put up by a weakened Billingham outfit with a very young back line:
“We had a hard game in Hull with a small bench, and we lost our import defenceman which didn’t help. We give everything we had last night and tonight the lads are just drained. We had no energy and no luck either. It was a poor game tonight and nothing really got going from either side, Whitley just worked that little bit harder than us. Our defence was very inexperienced but credit to them for fighting as hard as they did.”
Billingham Stars TV interviews:
You can also catch the highlights on Stars TV, click here.
The Stars will finish their National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 season with a trip to Sutton Sting on Saturday 16th March (face off 7.30pm) followed by the final derby of the campaign as Whitley Warriors visit the Forum on Sunday 17th March (face off 6.30pm).
Blackburn Hawks 1 Telford Tigers 7
Hull Pirates 14 Billingham Stars 1
Solway Sharks 7 Nottingham Lions 1
Whitley Warriors 6 Billingham Stars 0
Sutton Sting 2 Blackburn Hawks 6
Solihull Barons 5 Solway Sharks 4
Telford Tigers 2 Sheffield Steeldogs 3 after overtime and penalty shots
Nottingham Lions 0 Hull Pirates 16
Images courtesy of Colin Edwards Photography