Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Vipers Coach Concedes Title

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Vipers Coach Concedes Title

Article excerpt

Byline: By Miles Starforth The Evening Chronicle

Rob Wilson saw the short-handed Newcastle Vipers narrowly beaten by Guildford Flames - then declared that the British National League title was now beyond his team.

And the Vipers coach added he was planning ahead for the end of season play-offs.

Newcastle took one point from the weekend, having taken Bracknell Bees into overtime on Saturday after Wilson levelled the scores at 5-5 with just a minute left on the clock.

The extra period could not separate the two teams and Wilson, who last night was without David Longstaff and Rob Trumbley and had Pasi Raitanen in goal, admits his men ran out of gas against Guildford in Surrey, going down 5-3.

"It was 3-3 with 12 minutes to go but we ran out of gas," said Wilson. "David Longstaff didn't play and we just didn't have enough players to go round.

"David was sick with flu and shouldn't have played against Bracknell on Saturday. He showed a lot of guts and did a great job.

"Overall I'm really happy with the weekend. Given the circumstances and the netminding situation, a draw with Bracknell and a narrow loss at Guildford isn't bad. The guys have made a really positive effort.

"I think the league's gone now unless a miracle happens, and right now I'm looking at the play-offs."

Raitanen, who back-stopped Newcastle to the Findus Cup last season before a knee injury ended his campaign, made his seasonal debut for the Vipers against Guildford. Stephen Wall had been in goal for the visit of Bracknell.

And the Finn had to be at his best as Stan Marple's Flames looked for their second consecutive win over Newcastle.

The only goal of the opening period was scored by Guildford and with Martin King sitting a harsh charging penalty Milos Melicherik netted unassisted.

Raitanen stopped 18 other goalbound efforts in the period, while Newcastle had 11 shots saved by Flames goalie Stevie Lyle. …

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