TC Cars Solihull Barons : 4
Billingham Stars : 5
Despite having had a disappointing 17-18 season, the Billingham Stars had shown themselves keen to bounce back this year. A spirited and narrow loss to league title holders the Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday night showed that nothing could be taken for granted from the Teeside team and so it would prove for the Barons.
The first five minutes of the game was played almost exclusively in the Barons end with the visitors continually testing the Solihull defence and netminder Sam Hewitt. On eight minutes the visitors would make the most of a late-hit penalty called on Barons captain Josh Bruce when James Moss flicked the puck over Hewitt’s blocker for the evening’s opener.
The Barons would get more into the game as the period went on – Josh Bruce, Filip Supa and Niklas Ottosson all with opportunities, while tempers flared as pleasantries were exchanged between Solihull’s Andy Whitehouse and the Stars Cain Taylor on 15 minutes. The scoreboard however would continue to show the visitors a goal to nil up as the sides hit the dressing rooms.
If the first period had been a bit stingy on the scoring, then the same could not be said of the second. By two minutes in the visitors had extended their lead, Jack Davies leading a 3 on 1 breakaway for number two and Edgar Protchenko making the most of a wide open back door to shoot over a sprawled Hewitt for number 3. Almost immediately after this Niklas Ottosson got the Barons opener before Josh Bruce brought the Barons back to within a one goal deficit with a neat effort, biding his time while skating across the Stars goal mouth for Solihull’s number 2 in the 27th minute. The visitors struck back quickly however as Chris Sykes poked the puck through Hewitt’s pads to ease out the Star’s cushion once more and leave the Barons two goals behind as the final twenty minutes approached.
The final period began well for Solihull as Dan Harrison on the powerplay jabbed the puck in from inches in a crowded goal crease to trim the Stars advantage to a single goal. This cushion was then wiped out on the 48th minute as gritty solo play from Luke Brittle got the Barons equaliser, the Solihull forward waiting for Billingham netminder James Flavell to commit before picking his spot for number four.
Home hopes of at least a point would then be dashed as Ethan Hehir for the Stars picked up a rebound on 51 minutes for what would be the final goal of the night. A line brawl in the final three minutes gave Barons a net powerplay once the penalties had been balanced out but there sadly would be no oppportunity to turn this into something more tangible.
The Barons are back on the home ice on Sunday when they face the Nottingham Lions. While the Lions are many people’s tip for the league wooden spoon, the Nottingham side have always brought their ‘A’ game to Hobs Moat and the Barons advantage on paper has not always converted to points in the bank. Face-off 6:00pm.
Solihull Barons Man of the Match, Josh Bruce
Billingham Stars Man of the Match, James Flavell
NEXT HOME GAME – THIS SUNDAY
|September 2, 2018||6:00 pm||Moralee Division||2018/19|