Deadly duo bag trebles to send Warriors packing

Murrayfield Racers ended the NIHL North Cup group phase on a high note after picking up three points from their final two matches.

The Racers started the weekend on the road against a Billingham Stars side who had triumphed 6-2 in the reverse fixture back in October.

Both teams created chances during the early part of the game, but netminders Thomas Brown and Craig Douglas were in fine form.

Billingham finally broke the deadlock in the 11th minute through Craig Thurston, but Callum Boyd tied things up just a minute later.

James Moss fired home after 14 minutes to restore the Stars’ lead and send them in 2-1 ahead at the first break.

The Racers came out firing in the second period and were rewarded as two goals in 17 seconds by Ethan Reid and Ross Borwick made it 3-2 to the visitors.

The home side soon stepped things up, and ended the session 5-3 in front courtesy of goals by Chris Sykes, Josh Reynolds and Michael Elder.

Murrayfield refused to lie down and made it a one-goal game in the 49th minute as Lewis Gold got his name on the scoresheet.

Play in the final 10 minutes swung from end-to-end, with both sides creating plenty of chances.

A late tripping call on Liam Danskin looked to have ended the Racers’ hopes of sending the game to overtime, but they managed to snatch an equaliser with just four seconds remaining as Sean Donaldson made it 5-5.

With neither side able to find a goal during the extra period, the match went to penalties where Tomas Rubes bagged the decider after six rounds of shots.

The Racers returned to home ice on Sunday aiming to gain revenge against Whitley Warriors following their 5-3 defeat in a bad-tempered clash at Hillheads earlier this month.

The Moralee D1 side took the lead after eight minutes through Phil Edgar and looked to be on their way to another victory when Ben Richards doubled their advantage midway through the game.

However, Boyd’s goal in the final minute of the second period gave the Racers renewed hope and they delivered in style in the final session.

Joel Gautschi and Archie Holmes put the Racers in front by the 44-minute mark, before Ross Murray made it 3-3 with just over ten minutes to play.

Further goals by Gautschi and Boyd gave the Racers a two-goal cushion with under seven minutes remaining, but Edgar’s second of the night halved the deficit.

The home side would not be denied, with Boyd and Gautschi completing their hat-tricks in the final three minutes to seal a magnificent 7-4 victory.

Murrayfield will now face Solway Sharks in the semi-finals, while Whitley will meet Billingham. The ties will be staged over two legs and are scheduled to take place during January.

The Racers turn their attentions to the Stuart Robertson Cup next Sunday when they host Aberdeen Lynx in the first leg of their semi-final tie.

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