Billingham Stars’ Director of Coaching Terry Ward has demanded a reaction from his players after seeing them crash to three successive defeats.
Last weekend’s 7-5 loss at Solihull Barons left the Stars ten points behind Moralee D1 leaders Solway Sharks and Ward wants his team bounce back on Sunday at home to Sutton Sting.
“This game is all about seeing the right sort of reaction from the lads – I want to see a backlash after the last three results,” said Ward.
“We don’t just need to win, we need to show the right character. I have spoken with the team last week and they are all under no illusions as to what I expect from them.
“Defensively we just haven’t been at the races – lapses of concentration and not following instructions are costing us, we will be looking to make sure we cut the mistakes dramatically against the Sting.
“It’s not going to be easy though, Sutton are tough nuts to crack and they are pushing for success of their own.
“Having (Dmitri) Zimozdra in goal is a massive boost for them, and we must learn how to deal with (Lloyd) Gibson if we are to get the points.”
Telford Tigers NIHL travel to Blackburn Hawks on Saturday aiming to leapfrog their opponents at the foot of the table.
The Tigers beat the Hawks 5-2 on home ice last weekend, but Player/Coach Daniel MacKriel expects the Lancashire outfit to be gunning for revenge.
“Playing the Hawks in their rink will be another tough test – we learnt a lot about ourselves last weekend when we played them at home but going to Blackburn on the big ice will be a different game,” said MacKriel.
“I’m expecting it’ll be another physical challenge against the defending league and play-off champions, but one we are excited about.
“After their defeat at Telford the Hawks bounced back the following day and defeated Sutton, so they will have their tails up.
“And with the league positions close, with everyone beating each other, it should be a great game.
“We’re short-benched, but what we have is a lot of character and we go with confidence and determination.”
NIHL North Moralee D1
Solway Sharks v Whitley Warriors (Cup)
Billingham Stars v Sutton Sting
Blackburn Hawks v Telford Tigers NIHL
Deeside Dragons v Solihull Barons
NIHL North Laidler D2
Bradford Bulldogs v Altrincham Aces
Coventry Blaze NIHL v Blackburn Eagles
Nottingham Lions v Hull Jets
Widnes Wild v Sheffield Senators
(Image permission: Linda Crabtree)