ICE HOCKEY: SOLIHULL Barons returned to winning ways on Sunday in a hard-fought tie against Billingham Stars.
It took Barons just five minutes to open the scoring when Luke Brittle shot through traffic during a powerplay to open the scoring.
The lead was then doubled courtesy of Phil Mulcahy with a poke of the puck in the Billingham crease to double Solihull’s lead.
The visitors made the most of their own powerplay – Deniss Baskatovs making a break and firing the puck into the roof of the Solihull net with eight minutes of the first period remaining but an Adam Brittle backhander restored Barons’ two goal cushion before the period end.
The second period saw the visitors come out with renewed purpose in an evenly balanced middle 20.
While both sides had opportunities, there would be no scoring until the last few seconds,
Chris Sykes deflected the puck in off of an Artur Ozols shot to bring Billingham to within a goal of Solihull’s tally.
Dave Rogers eased out the Solihull lead to two with an early final period goal, but with ten minutes to go Ozols brought the Stars back into contention and only a single goal behind.
The sides would again trade goals, Josh Bruce pushing the Barons margin back out to two before James Moss pegged things back for the Stars to leave the sides separated by a goal with three minutes to go.
Barons’ nerves were however quickly eased with a Niklas Ottosson solo effort before Josh Bruce got the empty net goal in the final minute to give a flattering scoreline which perhaps did the hard-working visitors something of a dis-service.
Barons host their final fixture of 2017 on Saturday when they welcome Telford Tigers.
Image: Barons Captain Josh Bruce celebrates his goal (Steve Crampton).