A SHOWDOWN between the two sides expected to compete for the National Ice Hockey League North Two title ended with Deeside Dragons still unbeaten after three games.
Solihull Barons arrived at the Dragons’ Den in Deeside with former NHL player Chris Allen as player-coach but opposite number Steve Fellows was not troubled.
He had done his research and, despite missing club captain Marc Lovell, used his resources well to tire out a talented Barons side that lacked depth.
The match heralded the return of former Flintshire Freeze player Pete Gazda to the Deeside rink as he donned the colours of the Dragons and he ran out with the MVP award after a sterling performance.
And Fellows, who scored another goal to add to his tally, played through the pain barrier as he had both a broken toe and an infected tooth before the game.
Next to visit are Sheffield Senators this Sunday, with Fellows acknowledging that his side will need to be on their game.
“We played really well against the Barons,” he said. “We got to Allen and we noticed they kept returning to their first line while we were cycling through more of our players so we took advantage of that.
“Sheffield have a wide pool of talent to draw from as there are a number of clubs up there, including an Elite League side and a Premier League side.
“If we go into the game thinking about the Barons and thinking the job is done we could be caught out. We have to go in there focused and make sure we keep on winning.”
His desire to win does not mean Fellows is not willing to experiment with his side.
This Sunday he plans to rest netminder Matty Compton and start the game with 16-year-old George Cox.
Last season Cox played a handful of games while Compton was suspended and Fellows wants to expose him to league action a little more as he builds for the future.
“George has ability and he showed that last season at Solway Sharks,” said Fellows.
“He played up there for the Freeze and while most teams were going into the third period 10 points down the Freeze only went in two points down.
“He stood out in that game and I think it is important to give him and some of our other young developmental players ice time.
“Some of them may be involved this weekend as well. We will never know if they are good enough if they don’t play and they won’t improve if they don’t come up against the big boys. It is part of bringing players through that they should get a chance with the senior side.”