By Jamie Arrowsmith 22/02 Updated: 22/02 18:00
TWO gutsy performances from Solihull Barons did not prove enough for them to end their wait for an away victory as they went down against Coventry Blaze and Whitley Warriors over the weekend.
The defeats mean Barons must now win all of their four remaining fixtures and hope Coventry lose theirs if they are to avoid relegation - difficult, but not impossible.
It was a weekend where Darren Bellerby’s injury woes continues, with barely two full lines available to dress for the trip to Whitley Bay. But nonetheless, a stubborn Barons outfit battled hard throughout until a calamitous last 11 minutes swung the tie in favour of the home side.
Four powerplay goals, courtesy of Dale White, Phil Lee and Rob Eley’s 99th and 100th career goals for Solihull, kept Barons in contention for an unlikely away point at 4-4, but they ran out of steam in the third period and four goals from the home side capped off a far from comfortable 8-4 victory.
Just 24 hours earlier, a 6-3 defeat against fierce rivals Coventry Blaze served a massive dent in Barons’ hopes of avoiding the drop.
Without doing anything spectacular, Blaze found themselves 3-0 ahead after 21 minutes in an otherwise evenly matched encounter.
Barons had gone over 200 minutes without scoring, but that record was broken in the most bizarre fashion when Lee Winwood’s defensive punt somehow crept into the back of the Blaze net as an embarrassed netminder tried to leave the puck to skid behind for icing.
Buoyed by the lifeline, Barons fought back and Eley tucked home to make it 3-2 before but a quickfire double seemed to put Blaze out of reach at 5-2.
Dale White smashed home a sublime solo effort to give Barons a chance in the final ten minutes but Coventry had the last laugh and scored with two minutes remaining to seal victory.
Three of Barons’ four remaining games take place at home - the first on Sunday against Blackburn Hawks in what is much more than just a league clash.
The game will double up as the Steve Perks Memorial Trophy match and Barons will be keen to keep the iconic trophy on Solihull soil again after defeating Flintshire Freeze last season to win it. The action gets underway at 6pm and tickets cost £6 for adults and £3 for concessions.
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