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Ice hockey: Steve Fellows praises Deeside Dragons’ fighting spirit as they prepare for visit of Nottingham Lions

STEVE Fellows is hoping the fighting spirit his side showed against lowly Blackburn Hawks to record a shutout victory will stick with them as they look for a vital win over Nottingham Lions at Deeside this Sunday.

The Deeside Dragons player-coach saw his side react strongly to the physical presence of the Hawks just a week after they were bullied at Solihull.

Having set out to protect netminder Matty Compton from overly physical contact, seasoned enforcer Dave Costelloe set the tone in the early stages.

Having seen the Hawks get too close to Compton in the warm-up, Costelloe sent a message with some early hard hits, for which he was penalised.

Later he would be ejected for fighting but his no-nonsense approach set the tone for the Dragons to take charge of the game.

Whenever the Hawks tried to take liberties the Dragons stood up to them and if the visitors overstepped the mark, Fellows’ men were not afraid to throw down and put them in their place.

“That’s why I brought Dave Costelloe in,” said Fellows.

“He is there to let teams know they cannot mess with us and he is very good at that.

“It is all part of the game and it adds to the excitement for the crowd, but it is something we have to have in order to earn the right to play.”

The Dragons emerged with a 6-0 win after goals from Fellows, James Parsons, Andy Chappell, Shaun Kippin, Tom King and Brian Worrall.

“It was great to keep a clean sheet,” said Fellows.

“And Andy Chappell finished off a really classy goal that showed the other side of our game, the neat passing part.

“It was like an Arsenal goal in football.

“He is playing well in a second line that is impressive at the moment.”

Everyone will need to be at their best when unbeaten Nottingham come to Deeside on Sunday (6.30pm).

“They will be a difficult team to beat and we need a win against them but I am confident,” said Fellows.

“We had a team meeting and worked a few things out last week. We spoke about simple things we could change to improve our game and it worked.

“Myself and my assistant Ric Hughes are playing and coaching so when we are on the ice our third coach Mark Hobson now has more responsibility for making changes which is allowing us to concentrate more when we are out there.”