ALTRINCHAM ACES 12-2 FLINTSHIRE FREEZE 1 FEBRUARY 2003
League action and Aces would clinch a playoff place with a win. Aces were without Phil Keelan, Tim Dempsey (knee) and Kevin Cassidy. The hope was that the Freeze might offer more of a game than they had done in the December away game.
Flintshire forced the first save from Danny Higgin in the Aces net and had most of the chances in the first five minutes as the Aces play was less than fluid to say the least. Our best early chance came in the ninth minute with Billy Price being stopped in front after being put through just before a backhand effort from Stephen Elliott hit the post. The deadlock was broken when a long pass from Russ Richardson found Brian Worrall to skate in and easily beat Freeze keeper, Matt Compton. Greg Allen had three close range chances saved in quick succession. The period ended with the first of the game's minor scuffles being started by Freeze's Costello.
The Aces dressing room wouldn't have been quiet in the interval. Mark Stokes took an early hooking minor and Aces capitalised on the powerplay with Billy forcing home after Russ' shot had been stopped. Straight away, Aces got another as Brian took the puck down the right wing to fire in through Compton's 5 hole. A minute later, Greg clipped a loose puck inside the post and another minute later Nick Crawley took the puck past Stokes, waited and picked his spot in the top corner - the goals had sandwiched Freeze's opener, the puck getting out to Chapple on the blue line who fired straight back in. Jason Hewitt and Costello disappeared for 2+10 after another scuffle. Aces went 6-1 up when Brian set up Greg on a 2 on 1 and Greg waited for Clancy (now in the Freeze net) to commit before sliding the puck in. More action at 35.06. Stokes slashed Russ and Russ jumped on him, landing fists before Stokes had had time to do the usual Stokesy Pokesy and get someone-else in to fight for him. Stokes' nose was broken and we were then treated to what would probably be the last time a whining Canadian would be heard within the rink (note - some of my best friends are Canadian - I just don't like whining ones!!). Luke Stretton's retaliation on Davies for a trip on Greg left the Aces lining up in the penalty box faster than you could say Team Photo. Freeze were 5 on 3 and took advantage with Williams scoring after a Fellows pass had found him at the side of the net. Aces got a short handed marker as Billy fought past 2 defenceman to backhand in and then a powerplay goal as Simon Mills skated in to score easily.
Mr Stokes' non appearance for the last period reduced the tension somewhat. Jason scored with a low shot from a pass from Billy on the boards and then again, after Russ had skated past the goal and passed back out in front to Jason. Nick turned and fired in from the right face off circle and Greg finished the scoring, taking the puck after Jason had won a face off and scoring into the top corner. That was the end of scoring but Brian was sent off with four seconds left after one of the linesman adjudged that he'd butt ended a Freeze player.
Freeze had given us more of a game but not enough to wake up Baby Mills despite that strange nasal whine in the second period.
1-0 10.38 Worrall from R Richardson
2-0 23.49 Price from R Richardson PPG
3-0 24.04 Worrall from Crawley and Daly
4-0 25.23 Allen from Mills
4-1 25.50 Chapple from Hughes PPG
5-1 26.43 Crawley
6-1 32.09 Allen from Crawley and Worrall
6-2 37.38 Williams from Fellows and Shaw PPG
7-2 38.37 Price from Crawley and Mills SHG
8-2 39.12 Mills from Worrall and Hewitt
9-2 45.44 Hewitt from Price and Crawley
10-2 48.32 Hewitt from R Richardson
11-2 52.19 Crawley from Stretton PPG
12-2 53.23 Allen from Hewitt
Greg Allen 3+0, Russ Richardson
0+3 (MoM), Steve Michie, Brian Worrall 2+2,
Nick Crawley 2+4, Jason Hewitt 2+2, Simon Mills 1+2, Arran Richardson, Stephen Elliott,
Luke Stretton 0+1, Steve Daly 0+1, Billy Price 2+1
Phil Verstappen, Danny Higgin (27s, 2g, 92.59%)
SOG 72-27 PIMS 79-24