Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Stars Steeled for a Tough Encounter with Sheffield

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Stars Steeled for a Tough Encounter with Sheffield

Article excerpt

Byline: CAROL WHITE

ULTIMATE WINDOWS-sponsored Billingham Stars will have to be at their very best if they are to snap their 11-game losing streak against Sheffield Steeldogs in National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1 at the Forum tomorrow. Steeldogs visit Teesside for the first time since 2014 sitting pretty in third place, just the single overtime loss hampering their progress up the table.

Offensively very creative, Sheffield are powered up front by two Slovakians in former Telford Tiger Milan Kolena and Adrian Palak, a fast-skating forward no stranger to the NIHL after a stint at The Dragons two seasons ago.

Currently top-scoring in the League however is former Sutton captain James Spurr, one of a trio of Sting players who opted to make the switch when their former club chose to be demoted to Division 2. Another former Sutton man is goaltender Dmitri Zimozdra, a previous thorn in the Billingham side and one of the most consistent netminders at National League level for some years.

Steeldogs will feel confident coming into the game having defeated the Stars twice already this season at IceSheffield. However the smaller Forum ice pad will make it trickier for them to play their usual expansive game.

Billingham are on a horrific run of one win from 12 games played and languishing in eighth place.

Last weekend brought more misery for the Teessiders as they conceded late in the North-east derby to give local rivals Whitley Warriors the win by the odd goal in seven.

Their cause is not being helped by an extensive injury list, especially at the back. However the mood in training has been upbeat as the Stars coaching team tries to find a winning formula that will kick-start the season.

Fitness and speed appear to be the main areas of concern, as well as getting the whole team back out on the ice. …

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