GAME REPORT | Shooting Stars Clip the wings of the Eagles
The Oxford Shooting Stars travelled down the M4 with a lot of eagerness to finally get the season under way. Although only being a challenge game the Shooting Stars wanted to kick start the season with a win. The team travelled down with a few new signings ready to make their début, these included our new Finish import Roope Tuskala and 3 new additions to the Czech contingent, Dominik Kozelka, Pavel Zebrak and Martin Sponar. With the introduction of new players comes new chemistries to be built and this game gave a great opportunity to introduce players together and try and build some chemistry between the new lines. Another thing that was new was our first visit to the newly opened Ice Arena Wales which most will agree is a fantastic facility, looking clean, fresh and the novelty of twin ice pad means there is plenty of hockey to go around, sadly the changing rooms and lack of any mobile signal appears to be a small blip on otherwise an enviable and fantastic facility.
The game started fast paced with some end to end action with both teams trading plenty of shots and both goalies weathering them well. The Shooting Stars were granted the first power play when the Eagles Tom Schofield got given 2 for Interference, however the Shooting stars failed to convert. The first goal of the game came at 13:23 in the first when The Shooting Stars play making forward Mitch Liddell created a fabulous tip in, sadly over the shoulder of The Shooting Stars net minder into his own net. The goal was awarded to the Eagles Pavol Adam. However 6 minutes later the Shooting Stars answered back and who better to do it after his own goal than Mitch Liddell with Tom Kosar assisting. A minute later The shooting stars doubled there tally when Czech duo Dominik Kozelka found Jakub Braunstein with a stretch pass down the wing for Jakub to finish the job and allowing the Shooting Stars to take the lead going into the break.
The Second Period started well for The Shooting with Ivo Tormi lazering a shot from the point to make the lead 3-1. However the Eagles were going to be no push overs and they showed this when Scott Townsend beat Rob Newnes and brought it to a 1 goal game. Shortly afterwards the Shooting fell into penalty trouble when Peter Smith pushed over an unsteady Eagle and was adjudged to have given a Body Check. Whilst Peter Smith checked off a new rinks penalty box from his list the eagles gained an equalising goal on the power play. Oxford responded a few minutes later when Charlotte Chamberlain skated up the wing found some space to send the sweetest of all backhand saucer passes to give Martin Sponar some space to drag the puck round the goalie and fire it into the top corner to grab him a début goal! However Oxford were unable to hold on to the lead when a hard working Cardiff equalised with 4 minutes left in the period, with Rob Jaunitis getting the goal.
With a close finish on the cards both teams emerged for a cagey 3rd period. You could tell that both teams didn’t want to let another goal slip with attacking tactics being traded in favour for a more defensive style of game. Both teams traded a penalty with the Eagles Milos Baca picking up 2 for hooking and Oxford's Tom Kosar getting a high stick penalty. Neither team were able to convert a power play opportunity. Oxford were the team that finally got a break through with just over 4 minutes left in the game when a tic-tac-toe play from Tom Kosar and Jakub Braunstein finding Mitch Liddell free on the back post to convert a rather bizarre hat trick for him. With the lead and the end of the game in sight Oxford wanted to add a bit more drama to the game when long time blue liner Matty Davies chopped down an eagle and got 2 for tripping. A composed Oxford were able to see out the game though and get the win.
Charlotte Chamberlain picked up the beers for player of the game and the Shooting Stars also gave a rather emotional farewell to Tom Kosar who played his last game for the club.
Mitch Liddell 2+0
Jakub Braunstein 1+1
Martin Sponar 1+0
Ivo Tormi 1+0 2 PIM
Tom Kosar 0+2 2 PIM
Charlotte Chamberlain 0+1 (POM)
Dominik Kozelka 0+1
Peter Smith 2 PIM
Matthew Davies 2 PIM