SOLIHULL Barons suffered two narrow losses at the weekend, as they were edged 3-2 by Billingham Stars before an 8-5 away loss to Whitley Warriors.
The Barons were downed by lowly Billingham in the first fixture of the weekend on Saturday, albeit in much closer fashion to bigger drubbings in recent weeks, and could feel hard done by not to have taken points from the game.
The Stars opened the scoring in the opening period despite attacking pressure from Solihull which would amount to little, Craig Thurston putting the hosts on the back foot inside the first 20 minutes.
A defensive stalemate ensued in the second period as both sides cancelled each other out, which was in stark contrast to goals at either end in the third and final period.
Matt Maurice was on hand at the back-post to fire an equaliser for the Barons, meeting Elliott Farrell’s centre, but as they over-committed in search of a go-ahead goal, Billingham re-took the lead.
Edgar Protchenko’s long-ranger was added to by Kristers Bromanis to leave Solihull with a mountain to climb in the final five minutes.
Macaulay Heywood looked to have given some hope when slotting the puck underneath goalkeeper James Flavell, but the Barons left it too late to find a second leveller of the afternoon.
Whitley Warriors provided the test the following day, and it appeared fortunes might have been changing in their favour when taking the lead on 2:10, Maurice sweeping a well-taken opener into the net past Jordan Boyle.
An immediate response from the Warriors proved a blow when DJ Good slotted a rebound, before striking a second time moments later.
Good completed a hat-trick after just under 14 minutes, lifting the puck over the Barons keeper to find the net to give Whitley some breathing space.
Sam Hewitt was kept constantly busy by the opposition’s forwards and was forced to stay alert, his saves kept the scoring tight and when Adam Brittle pulled one back on 18:54, it was game back on.
Failing to build on that foothold claimed at the end of the first period would prove costly, as Whitley started the second with fresh impetus to seize control of the game.
They did exactly that when Sam Zajac (23:45) and Jordan Barnes less than four minutes later made it 5-2, whilst it was six and four for Good when finding the net after good work from Harry Harley and Dean Holland in the Whitley defence.
Barons desperately tried to get back into it, Niklas Ottosson firing a penalty goal, but when hitting the post three times in a matter of moments, it was clear it was not to be their day.
Brittle did cut the deficit to two when firing from close-range to close the period, though David Longstaff struck low and found the net to dent the Barons’ momentum.
Ben Campbell made it 8-4, before Daniel Harrison pulled a goal back just nine seconds later for Solihull, but that’s how the scores would finish to consign Solihull to another defeat despite their hard-fought efforts across the weekend.