Derby delight as Stars bounce back

BOUNCING BACK: Scott Ward in action at the weekend.
BOUNCING BACK: Scott Ward in action at the weekend.

BILLINGHAM Stars bounced back in fine style from a double-figurecup demolition by The Tigers on Saturday to trounce North East rivals Whitley Warriors 8-1 at the Forum just 24 hours later.

It was one of their biggest derby wins in recent times, and left director of coaching Terry Ward jubilant.

“We set our stall out and said we were going to be intense,” he said.

“We were going to follow through with our hits, we were going to play at 100 miles an hour – with our heads up though and be smart - and pass the puck around, and I think we did that in the first period.

“Straight from the word go we never let them settle.

“The chances that weren’t going for us in past games we buried them and they went in where before they hadn’t.

“We knew we had it in us and we’ve just got to keep that momentum going now – the lads will get confidence out of that.

“If we play like that every game and give 100 per cent then no one can knock us.”

Stars were all over the Warriors from the first drop of the puck.

Billingham went close to opening the scoring on numerous occasions, luck just seeming to run against them, but eventually got their reward just six seconds into their first power play opportunity in the 14th minute, Michael Elder tipping in a Richie Thornton shot from the blue line.

A six-minute spell in the second session crushed the visitors totally as Billingham went on the rampage.

Chris Sykes started the rout in the 23rd minute, followed in quick succession by Ben Davison, Michael Bowman and Elder with his second, all scored before the halfway point in the game when young Mark Turnbull replaced regular keeper Richie Lawson between the Whitley pipes for the remainder of the game.

With Turnbull in cold, Emerson scored the home side’s sixth in the 31st minute. Thomas Stuart-Dant rifled home goal number seven in the final minute with Warriors looking pretty shellshocked.

The second period came to an early end when Andy Munroe suffered a nose bleed and the teams left the ice for the interval, the remaining 48 seconds being played at the beginning of the third period.

The Stars looked like they would continue to heap misery on their beleaguered neighbours when man of the match Elder scored his hat-trick goal in the 43rd minute, however the Warriors denied Flavell his shut out when they eventually grabbed a consolation marker by DJ Good in the 47th minute while on a 5-on-3 powerplay and some questionable refereeing decisions.

After that Billingham seemed content to play possession hockey and ran the clock down to secure the National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 victory.

It had been a different story altogether 24 hours earlier when The Tigers – leaders of the English Premier League – knocked Stars out of the British Challenge Cup.

Stars rocked their hosts by opening the scoring with Callum Davies silencing the home crowd with just over four minutes played.

The constant Tigers pressure eventually told and Joe Miller equalised in the ninth minute before Dan Davies added another on a delayed penalty call in the 17th minute.

The middle session saw the EPL leaders’ class show as they scored four times. Scott McKenzie rattled in two, Peter Szabo and Miller took the teams into the interval at 6-1.

Billingham’s short bench and Tigers superior fitness showed in the final session as Stars ran out of steam and allowed the Shropshire side to add a further five goals to their tally.

Dan Scott, Nathan Salem, Richard Plant, Davies and Adam Taylor all got their names on the scoresheet for an 11-1 final score.

Billingham host Manchester Minotaurs in a league clash on Sunday (face off 6.30pm).