ALTRINCHAM ACES 6-1 KINGSTON JETS 23 MARCH 2003
The previous night’s 2-2 draw between the teams meant that the winners on Sunday night would win the Northern playoff group. Russ Richardson and Nick Crawley returned to the line up although Simon Mills was missing due to suspension. New faces were Jamie Rogerson and Andy Dunn (in his Aces debut).
Both sides had chances in the early play, Jason Hewitt was stopped for the Aces before Danny Higgin saved a Hobson effort. Street had a hard shot deflected by Danny onto the post on a Jets powerplay before Greg Allen was denied shorthanded. Aces then created a great opening, Greg hit the post with it, Billy Price’s follow up was saved and the puck fell to Russ Richardson who fired a shot onto the post but thankfully also in to relieve the stress levels in the crowd. Jets were taking quite a few early penalties and Aces capitalised with Brian Worrall hitting a low shot from the blue line that found its way through Holmes in the Kingston net. Aces got a third towards the end of the period, Luke Stretton getting a long overdue second line goal from a goalmouth scramble.
The second period saw the Aces taking a lot of penalties but Danny was making lots of good saves starting with an early stop of a deflected puck. The Aces soaked up the pressure from successive powerplays and Brian was unlucky when he stretched to propel the puck towards an open net but it came back off the post. Jason had a shorthanded effort saved and then Greg lifted one over from in front of the net. Aces at last scored when Billy took the puck in on a delayed penalty call and put it in through the 5 hole. Jets cancelled that out as Street beat the defence and beat Danny for the first time of the evening.
Kingston had an early two minutes of 5 on 3, Danny making some great pressure saves. Play was still tense as the Aces hadn’t yet got the winning lead. A trademark first line 1-2-3 was overelaborated and missed and Greg had a quick low shot saved. The 50 minute mark went by and then Jason took the puck in and scored high left to secure the game. A Billy back flick made it 6-1 and finally the Aces could celebrate.
Danny got the man of the match for a second successive class performance but there were great performances all the way through the team and it was that thing team that secured this playoff group series win to set up a national final place in April. It was fitting that Devonshire Road’s last match should be a triumph for the Aces and add to many great memories.
1-0 10.08 R Richardson
from Allen and Crawley
2-0 15.42 Worrall from Price and R Richardson PPG
3-0 18.22 Stretton from Worrall and A Richardson
4-0 37.49 Price from Allen and R Richardson
4-1 38.54 Street from Hobson and Sainty
5-1 51.19 Hewitt from Price and Dempsey
6-1 55.15 Price from Hewitt and R Richardson PPG
Jamie Rogerson, Tim Dempsey
0+1, Greg Allen 0+2, Russ Richardson 1+3, Steve Michie,
Brian Worrall 1+1, Nick Crawley 0+1, Jason Hewitt 1+1, Arran Richardson 0+1,
Stephen Elliott, Luke Stretton 1+0, Billy Price 2+2, Kevin Cassidy
Danny Higgin (51m 19s, 38s, 1g, 97.37%) (MoM), Phil Verstappen (8m 41s, 3s, 0g, 100%)
SOG 52-41 PIMS 26-26