Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Stars Hoping to Muddy the Waters for Sharks

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Stars Hoping to Muddy the Waters for Sharks

Article excerpt


BILLINGHAM Stars are aiming to build some momentum with the play-offs just weeks away with games against mid-table opposition this weekend.

Ultimate Windows-sponsored Billingham take on Solway Sharks this evening as the Scots continue to fly the flag for the 'old' NIHL clubs, sitting as they do in fourth place behind the former English Premier League trio of Sheffield, Hull and Telford.

For a time it looked like the Sharks may have had an outside chance of breaking into the top three of the National Ice Hockey League (N) Moralee Division 1. However their form since the turn of the year has been patchy with six wins from 12 games.

Ultimately their failure to get results against the 'big three' has cost them with just a single victory at Telford in December to show for their efforts.

Their focus now firmly on the upcoming playoffs, Solway have suffered a blow in recent weeks as Czech defenceman Vaclav Kolarik departed the club for personal reasons, the Sharks unable to sign a replacement with the transfer deadline already been and gone.

Solihull Barons are the visitors to the Forum tomorrow evening looking for their fourth straight win over the Stars this season.

Currently in fifth place, the Barons have turned things around after a poor opening to their campaign saw them lose seven of their opening ten games.

Central to their success is their prowess up front - they are not short of firepower and are the league's third highest scorers with the likes of Niklas Ottosson, Thomas Soar and the Brittle brothers Adam and Luke regularly finding the back of the net.

Solihull will be keen to hang on to fifth spot to avoid drawing one of the former EPL sides in the first round of the play-offs so Billingham can expect a battle.

The Stars need to get back to winning ways as they try to find their groove in the final weeks of the regular season.

A defeat to current leaders Sheffield Steeldogs last Sunday was perhaps expected, but Billingham took plenty of positives from their work ethic and a particularly good first period showing that saw the Teessiders unlucky to go in a goal down at the break. …

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