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Ice hockey: Flintshire Freeze earn comfortable win over Lancashire Raptors, but head coach wants more

A RESOUNDING 10-1 victory over bottom club Lancashire Raptors got the Flintshire Freeze back on track after their latest extended break from action in EIHA North Two.

But although the scoreline looks impressive, Freeze head coach Karl Creamer’s satisfaction with the points was tempered by the frustration that his side coasted to a win rather than punishing the visitors at Deeside Ice Rink.

“We took our foot off the gas,” he said. “We lowered our performance to their level rather than maintaining the pressure and playing or game.

“At the end of the first period we were 6-0 up and by the end we should have been 18-0 up, instead we sat back and lost our urgency.”

In front of a packed stand the Freeze got off to a flying start. Andy Chappell was sin binned after only 18 seconds for an elbow but his two-minute penalty couldn’t hinder Steve Fellows getting the home side off the mark after a couple of minutes.

The Freeze doubled their lead on six minutes as Simon Furnival opened his account. In the eighth minute he struck again before, 36 seconds later, James Parsons also found the net.

The Freeze were on a roll and just 19 seconds passed from Parson’s goal before Furnival completed a first period hat-trick.

By then the hosts were already showing signs of easing off their opponents, who are bottom of the league without a win to their name.

Aled Roberts scored with just over a minute-and-a-half left until the break to make it 6-0 and the Freeze seemed capable of running away with the match.

But in the second session the goals dried up. Andy Chappell scored after six minutes and another six minutes later on a power play with the Raptors short-handed through a penalty, James Parsons struck again.

But there was none of the incisive rampaging play that the Freeze opened the game with.

In the opening period they unleashed 34 shots on the Raptors’ goal. In the second they attempted just 15.

The third period was not much better as Parsons completed his hat-trick and Marc Lovell also found the net, but the Raptors pulled a goal back courtesy of Steve Hetherington.

“I am happy with the result,” said Creamer afterwards. “And I do understand why players get dragged down by the lower teams.

“But we have to be ruthless. There were times the puck ran loose and we were watching it waiting for them to collect it.

“There were a lot of people there watching and we had the chance to show off a bit but we didn’t do that. We can’t play like that at Bradford Bulldogs on Sunday.”

Sutton Sting, the Freeze’s rivals for second place, lost to runaway leaders Solway Sharks 7-3.

The Freeze trail the Sting by five points with one game in hand so although they still need the Sting to slip up before the end of the season, the battle for second – and a play-off place for promotion – is still on.

“I refuse to give up on second place until it is totally impossible,” said Creamer. “That is why I want this team to play to its best, because I know it is capable of that.

“If they give their best, they are one of the best teams on this league, I just want to see their best week in, week out.”

The Freeze travel to Bradford Bulldogs this Sunday (5.15pm).