Billingham Stars’ NIHL North title hopes look to be over after they crashed to two defeats over the weekend.
The Stars produced a spirited display at Solway Sharks, but finished on the wrong end of a 7-1 scoreline against the Moralee D1 leaders on Saturday.
The Teessiders led for much of Sunday’s contest at home to Solihull Barons, but Niklas Ottosson’s hat-trick goal six minutes from time sealed a 6-5 success for the visitors.
The Sharks looked on course for a four point weekend as they led 3-1 at Whitley Warriors inside the last three minutes, but the home side grabbed an unlikely draw with two late goals.
Those results put the Sharks twelve points ahead of the Stars with eight games to play.
Sutton Sting are just two points behind a play-off place after two solid performances on home ice.
A Chris Wilcox goal late in the second period sealed a 3-2 win against the Barons, and Sting followed up with a 2-2 draw against Blackburn Hawks.
Deeside Dragons kept their top four hopes alive with an impressive 7-4 win at Telford Tigers NIHL – Jordan Bannon (3) topped their scoring.
Blackburn Eagles still lead Laidler D2, but they were pushed all the way by Nottingham Lions and Sheffield Senators over the weekend.
Late goals by Sam Dunford and Chris Jones gave the Eagles a 5-5 draw at home to the Lions and they followed up with a 4-4 draw against the Senators in Sheffield.
Widnes Wild are now second in the table after a 7-0 road win over the Senators and a 5-4 home success against Coventry Blaze NIHL.
Jordan Bloom bagged a hat-trick for Blaze as they picked up their first win of the season courtesy of an 8-5 home success against Bradford Bulldogs.
Altrincham Aces boosted their hopes of a top four finish with a 4-0 win at Nottingham.
NIHL North Moralee D1
Billingham Stars 5-6 Solihull Barons
Solway Sharks 7-1 Billingham Stars
Sutton Sting 2-2 Blackburn Hawks
Sutton Sting 3-2 Solihull Barons
Telford Tigers NIHL 4-7 Deeside Dragons
Whitley Warriors 3-3 Solway Sharks
NIHL North Laidler D2
Blackburn Eagles 5-5 Nottingham Lions
Coventry Blaze NIHL 8-5 Bradford Bulldogs
Nottingham Lions 0-4 Altrincham Aces
Sheffield Senators 4-4 Blackburn Eagles
Sheffield Senators 0-7 Widnes Wild
Widnes Wild 6-4 Coventry Blaze NIHL
(Image permission: Keith & Jenny Davies)