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Ice hockey: Flintshire Freeze survive tough weekend to remain unbeaten

TWO games last weekend meant double the risk to the Flintshire Freeze’s 100% record in EIHL North B.

But they were up for the challenge and clocked up two hard-fought victories to remain unbeaten at the top of the league.

Their first test was at Sheffield Senators. The Freeze took an early lead, scoring three goals in 11 minutes.

The first came from newcomer Gavin Austin timed at just one minute 20sec.

The Senators pulled one back just 11 seconds after the Freezes third goal.

This rallied the young Yorkshiremen and they upped the tempo.

Nevertheless, the Freeze extended their lead to 4-1 just after the half-hour mark but the Senators quickly reduced the lead to 4-2.

As the clock ran down the Senators closed the gap to one goal but when Simon Furnival scored late on it looked like the Flintshire side were in no danger.

But with 90 seconds remaining a power-play from the Senators after a hotly-disputed bench penalty saw them reduce the arrears to just a point once more and the Freeze were forced to scramble to full time.

Sunday brought the Bradford Bulldogs to the Deeside Ice Rink and they sent a small squad of just 11 players as the Freeze won 4-1.

The hosts were also missing some key players which led to another tight game for the table-toppers.

James Parsons got the Freeze off the mark with a neat short-handed goal as Austin sat out a two-minute bench penalty.

The Bulldogs took advantage of their numbers to quickly equalise and play was very much even until Parson’s took his second goal before the break.

The second period saw a nicely worked goal for Gary Dixon with assists from Parsons and Mike Jones and the Freeze kept up the pressure until an interception saw the Bulldogs break only for Freeze minder Phil Crosby to make an heroic save.

Kenny Williams made it 4-1 going into the final stanza and the Freeze were left to shore things up in the third.

Crosby between the posts made some great saves and was duly acknowledged with the MVP award, having faced 40 shots on goal compared with the 41 shots the Bulldog’s minder faced.