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Ice hockey: Flintshire Freeze back to full strength for vital run-in

Hull Stingrays 3 Flintshire Freeze 1

NUMBER one goaltender Matty Compton is available for selection this weekend as the Flintshire Freeze enter a seven-game period that will make or break their season.

The keeper has spent the last three games on the sidelines, suspended after being ejected from a home game against Solway Sharks last month.

But he is available again and is likely to be reselected by Freeze head coach Karl Creamer as his side face a series of must-win games to keep their hopes of second place in EIHA North Two alive.

The Freeze were sucker-punched late on in Sunday’s away game at Hull Stingrays.

They conceded two late goals to lose 3-1 after the sides proved fairly evenly matched for most of the game.

The win drew Hull closer to the top three and increased the pressure on the Freeze.

No goals at all were scored in the opening period as both sides held firm but in the second Ainsley Keeler gave the Freeze the advantage as he slotted home from a Gary Dixon pass.

But just 14 seconds later Hull levelled through James Wardle.

The second ended 1-1 and in the final period both sides looked to be heading for overtime.

But with 10 minutes to go Hull snatched one to take the edge and five minutes later they added a second, ending the Freeze’s hopes of closing the gap on second-placed Sutton Sting for another week.

Afterwards a disappointed Karl Creamer tipped his hat to their hosts.

“Hull are a good side,” he said. “We are a good side too. I don’t think we wanted it any less, We were both hungry for it and I think we were fairly evenly matched.

“They have a good coach, good players and a good goalie credit to them.”

The Freeze travel to face Sheffield Senators on Saturday before hosting Sutton Sting, who lie second after thrashing Lancashire Raptors 22-1 on Sunday, at Deeside Ice Rink on Sunday (6.40pm) in two must-win games.

“We have to give it everything now,” said Creamer. “We have to show we can beat Sutton, we have to remain ahead of Hull and we have to put in the effort in training and in the games to earn that second spot.”

After this weekend’s double-header the Freeze must go to runaway leaders Solway, host Hull at Deeside and play Fylde twice away before the final game of the season, again at Solway.