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Match Report: Stars Vs Solent Devils
Oxford City Stars took on the Solent Devils and whilst it was a slow start for the home team, their first goal not coming until almost the end of the second period, they were the stronger team throughout and ended the match 3-1 winners.
The first period was uneventful for the Stars; despite out-shooting the Devils 15-8 it was the visitors who led at the end of the period. New recruit Jaroslav Cesky impressed straight away with an early scoring chance but it was saved. In the next few minutes both teams had chances, including a shot from the Devils’ Scott Greenfield, which went around the back of the Stars’ net. A penalty for Mark Baroni for cross-checking 2 minutes into the game created a Powerplay for the Stars, but despite an immediate chance for Alan Green on the Devils’ net the home fans were stunned when less than a minute later the Devils scored a short-handed goal, Richard Facey breaking away and slotting the puck behind Tom Annetts for an unassisted goal. It proved to be the Devils’ only goal of the game, though.
Another chance followed a few seconds after but Annetts left the goal to skate out and hit it away. Cesky passed the puck to Green for a shot on goal but it was caught by the Devils’ netminder Christian Cole, who was working hard in the first period, facing 15 shots on goal and saving them all. With 8 minutes to play in the period the Stars’ Joonas Liimatainen moved the puck towards the Devils’ goal but was grabbed by Alexander Cole, who was then given a holding penalty for the Devils. With a second Powerplay the Stars tried their best to equalise, several players trying to find the back of the net including a rebound from Green that almost went in. As the period wound down the Stars stepped up their attempts but all were denied. With 7 seconds to go the Stars were down to 4 skaters following a bench minor penalty for too many men on the ice. The Devils had a shot on goal as the buzzer sounded but it didn’t connect.
As the second period began the Devils had another shot on goal, the puck then bouncing towards Annetts who caught it just as the team were back to full strength. Jake Florey had a shot for the Stars, followed by another couple for the Devils, both teams proving quite evenly matched in the period with 10 shots apiece. A penalty on Stars new recruit Brendan Baird for hooking 7 minutes into the period left the visitors looking for a second goal, but the Stars managed to clear the puck from their end. Just before the penalty expired a second player joined Baird in the sin bin, this time it was Josh Florey for slashing. A shot from the Devils hit Annetts and almost trickled into the net but the penalties were successfully killed by the home side. Several Stars shots followed, most noticeably one from Green that bounced off the arm of Cole, but none of them resulted in a goal. With 7 minutes to go Facey ended up on the floor and Joe Edwards received the third home penalty of the period for hooking. Taking exception to the circumstances, Luke Tull for the Devils then found himself in the box with a 10 minute misconduct penalty. Cesky found the puck and passed it to Mike Whillock who had an excellent chance to level the game but it just missed the net. Finally, with 3 minutes left to play in the period the home side finally scored their first goal, Cesky scoring in his first ever game for the Stars, with assists from Green and Dominic Hopkins. Another penalty was given to Baird for holding with 2 minutes left on the clock, the Devils then taking several opportunities to try and get back in on top, but the period ended 1-1.
The Stars came out fighting in the third period, knowing they had to up their game to come away with the victory. Less than 3 minutes in they took the lead with another goal from an import player, this time Liimatainen, assisted by Elliott and Baird. The Devils tried to tie the game in the next few minutes but were unsuccessful. Halfway into the period a hooking penalty for Facey resulted in a third goal for the Stars, the Powerplay goal being scored by Green with assists from Elliott and Hopkins. An immediate timeout was then called by the Devils, being followed by chances from both teams, but the scoreline remained the same. With less than 5 minutes left in the match Aidan Doughty received a penalty for the Devils for tripping, the visiting team managing to successfully kill the penalty without any damage. Just under a minute before the final whistle tension broke out amongst the players, Facey picking a fight with Jake Florey. The altercation resulted in 2+2 penalties for fighting for both players, with the Devils down to 4 skaters as Facey received a further 2 minute penalty for roughing. With a player down the Devils were not to be deterred and had a further couple of goes at getting a goal back but the game ended 3-1 to the Stars.
Report: Katie Kent
Photos: Phil Elliott
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