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Ice hockey: Deeside Dragons find form in time for key month of games

FESTIVE indulgences must be resisted as Deeside Dragons prepare for the key month of January in their title quest.

Steve Fellows’ side have been handed four home games at Deeside Ice Rink – three in the league – next month and they need to maintain their recent good form in order to take full advantage and keep the National Ice Hockey League North Two title race close going into the home straight.

January 6 sees the Dragons get going at home to Solihull Barons in the National League North (West) Cup before they play host to Fylde and table-topping Nottingham Lions.

Fellows’ men then go to Fylde before entertaining bottom side Blackburn Eagles.

“I have had my eye on January as a key month since the start of the season,” said player-coach Fellows. “With so many home games, particularly with Nottingham in there, it is a make-or-break month for our title hopes.

“Fortunately we have found form just before Christmas so as long as the players don’t indulge too much over Christmas we should be able to maintain that going into a crucial stage of the campaign.”

It is a far cry from a few weeks ago when a slump in their results forced Fellows and his coaching staff into some soul-searching over their plans for the season.

But the arrival of Jordan Bannon from Premier League side Telford Tigers has helped lift the side in recent weeks. And Fellows will also be able to call on Flintshire ice hockey legend Pete Founds at the most critical juncture of the season.

“Having Pete back from his shoulder injury in January will be like signing a new player,” said Fellows. “Everyone knows how good he is.

“Jordan has really made an impact too. We are so pleased he came to sign for us and he has delivered instantly which has helped in recent games.”

On Saturday the Dragons beat Blackburn Eagles 10-0 on the road.

Shaun Kippin played through the pain barrier with a shoulder injury to score twice and there were also goals from Bannon, Ben Simister, Brian Worrall, Ric Hughes, Pete Gazda, Andy Chappell, James Parsons and Simon Furnival.

“After beating Fylde 16-1 the previous week to rack up a score like that against Blackburn shows something has clicked with us,” said Fellows.

“We have found our feet again and we are looking really strong. I just hope that we can carry that form through Christmas and into the new year.”