Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Strengthened Stars Keen to Get Back on Right Track; ICE HOCKEY

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Strengthened Stars Keen to Get Back on Right Track; ICE HOCKEY

Article excerpt

Byline: Andy Baxter Ice hockey correspondent

MANAGER Allen Flavell is con-fident that Billingham Stars can put their heavy defeats to Solway Sharks and Blackburn Hawks behind them and get straight back to winning ways this weekend.

The Ultimate Windows Stars had to reshuffle their lines beyond recognition due to a horrendous injury list last week as they lost 5-1 at leaders Solway Sharks and were thumped 9-1 at home by Blackburn Hawks.

But they have key players available again for their trip to Sheffield Spartans this afternoon (4.30pm) and tomorrow's derby at home to Whitley Warriors (6.30pm).

Marty Davies, Ben Davison and Michael Elder will not ice at Sheffield but Stephen Wallace, Cal Davies, Paul Windridge and Andy Munroe will be available. The returns of Davies and Wallace will significantly strengthen the Stars' strike power.

Dave Thomas has returned to training and although the weekend has come too soon for him to start, the Stars have been in talks with Jamie Pattison and are trying to sign him in time to play against the Warriors.

And with the team somewhere back near full strength, Flavell is sure they can rebound as they try to keep the pressure on Solway at the top of the NIHL Moralee Conference.

Sheffield and Whitley have both recently taken points off pace-setters Solway and Billingham must rekindle their earlier season form to retain second place.

Both third-placed Sutton and fourth-placed Blackburn can catch the Stars this weekend.

"Last weekend was so disappointing but I don't think we need to panic," Flavell said.

"We were decimated largely due to injuries, and that's the the last thing you need when you are play the current top two performing clubs in the league.

"Last weekend is behind us and we must take it one game at a time.

"As disappointing as those defeats were, they will make getting back to winning ways even more special. …

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