National Ice Hockey League Division 1 (South)

Simon Anderson hails his comback heroes

18th September 2019    News

Head Coach Simon Anderson hailed his come-back heroes as “outstanding” after the Stars’ remarkable opening game victory.

The Stars were left stunned after shipping five unanswered goals at home in the first period of the new Division One South season against Bracknell Hornets.

But they showed incredible character to overturn the score line in a match that will go down in Stars’ folklore and run out winners 6-5. 

Hat-trick for Oliver

Stars’ forward Josh Oliver led the comeback charge with a smash-and-grab second period hat-trick. New Captain Josh Florey also scored an unassisted goal in an action packed second period that also saw two fights.

The Stars went into the third period just one goal behind. Mike Whillock restored parity with eight minutes to go and debutant David Manning bagged the winner a few minutes later.

Head Coach Simon Anderson gave his full reaction exclusively to the Stars’ website.

He said: “In the first six or seven minutes I thought we had a lot of offensive zone time and looked like we were ready to make an impact in the game.

“After their first couple of goals we started to panic and get away from our game plan. Defensively we were running around and not picking guys up and before we know it it’s a 0-5 Period.”

Simon supported by new Assistant Coach Darren Elliott used the first break to re-group and re-focus.

“We calmed everybody down,” said Simon.

“It was important that we did that. There was no screaming or shouting, it was more constructive and going back to basics.

“We knew they had played the night before and we knew that would get more tired as the game went on. The message was to not pass any shots up, get the next goal and then try to chip away at the lead.”

He added: “With every goal I could see us growing in confidence and at 5-4 going into the 3rd period I knew if we kept going, we could get something out of the game.

“We eventually got what I thought we deserved over the duration of the game and that was the win.

“The guys deserve all the plaudits they are getting, the will to do whatever it takes to win was so evident and I am proud to call those guys my players after that.”

Reflecting on the additional learnings from the slow start, Simon added: “Obviously our start was not great, and we do not want to make it a habit because there are some good teams who will not let us back in. It’s very important we think about that moving forward.”

And in a message to the brilliant Stars’ supporters, he said: “I would just like to thank our fans for sticking with us. Over the last two seasons, you have been used to seeing the team win a lot and sometimes at a canter. This NIHL1 league is different and any team can beat any team, it is that good.

“I think it is important to understand that this is not going to be an easy season and it’s important that we keep supporting the boys throughout this season, through the good times and the bad. Thank you for backing us throughout on Sunday – we’ll need you again this weekend.”

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