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Ice hockey: Flintshire Freeze head coach pleased at strengthened squad

FLINTSHIRE Freeze head coach is hoping his two latest signings will bolster his side’s challenge to grab runner-up spot in the league.

Freeze welcomed back forward Gary Dixon from Blackburn and added defender Ainsley Keeler to the fold as they prepare for the English Ice Hockey Division Three North run-in.

Dixon returns to the squad, having played for Freeze up until the middle of last season before moving to the Division One side.

The signings have come at a useful time as Freeze goalkeeper Matthew Compton has been hit with a three-match suspension for lashing out at a Solway Sharks player during their 11-1 home defeat, while Kenneth Williams is banned for one game.

Creamer said: “Gary Dixon is back, he is a local lad and works at Deeside Leisure Centre.

“He is a good player and we are not going to turn our back on a player of that quality.

“Ainsley is another player we have signed and, along with Gary, they will work to earn their spot in the team.”

With Compton out, Creamer called on substitute goalie Phil Crosby to continue putting in the effort shown from a man-of-the-match performance against Solway.

“I would like to see Phil challenge Matty for the first team goalkeeper post,” he said.

“The decision has been made for me now Matty is out for three games, but Phil is going to have to step up for these games as we are now dependant on him.”

Creamer also spoke of his frustration at being unable to get back to winning ways quicker, as Freeze do not have a league game until February 12, when they will face Lancashire Raptors at home.

“It’s hard to bounce back after a game like Solway if all we can do is just practise while other teams are playing matches.

“Hopefully Lancashire will feel the brunt of our fightback when we do play but it is frustrating that we can’t play.”

Despite the setback, Creamer declared himself pleased with how the season has unfolded so far.

“I think it’s fair to say we are having a good season, but our expectations are still to finish as high as possible in the table.

“I am still unable to fathom why we cannot beat Sutton Sting, but we do have another game against them before the end of the season.

“Despite that, we do have to take some consolation and I think we have a good team.”