Ice Hockey: More glory for Sutton Sting as trio win Midlands Conference

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Three of Sutton Sting’s U12 ice hockey players, who were crowned league champions at U14 level only two weeks ago, have been crowned champions again.

This time it is for the Midlands Conference team that has been competing in the EIHA Conference Tournament in Hull.

The tournament is an annual event involving teams from the South-East, South-West, North, Scotland and the Midlands.

The teams are made up of players selected from the clubs from their Conference with the Midlands teams coming from Nottingham, Sheffield, Coventry, Telford, Flintshire, Solihull and Sutton.

This year in the U11 team, three of the 17 players were from Sutton Sting and it was the first time that a player from Sutton Sting had been selected at U11.

Sting netminder Lewis King, defenceman Ryan Apsley and forward James Spencer have all been attending special training sessions since their selection last November.

They went to Den Haag, Holland, to compete in an international tournament in March as part of their preparations for the Conference Tournament in Hull.

Playing in a team considered to be the best players in their age group, the three boys from the Sting have worked tirelessly to prepare themselves for the contest with the other conference teams and they knew they would be up against some of the best ice hockey players in the UK.

In the first game on the Saturday they faced the Northern Conference. It was a tight game and the Midlands had to come from behind to win 5-4.

On the Sunday the Midlands played two games, firstly against South-West, who were beaten 5-1, and later in the afternoon the South-East, who were beaten 3-0.

Going into Sunday and the final group game against Scotland, the Midlands had won three from three and the team were playing really well.

It was a 6am start for the youngsters and the Midlands were the fresher team, winning 2-0 and gaining a place in the final against their first opponents, the Northern Conference.

The final was a really tense affair for the first period with both teams battling hard.

The North took the lead twice only for the Midlands to come straight back.

With a change of tactics by the Midlands coach, the Midlands got their noses in front and in the final 15 minutes stamped their authority over the proceedings and netted three goals without reply to win 5-2.

Forward James Spencer said. “It’s been great and I’ve had a good time. We have won and that is good for us too.”

Watching the Conference for the first time was Sting chairman Ian Johnson who said. “The weekend is a great celebration of ice hockey and for me watching our U11s as well as our U13s, with Brady Doxey playing for the Midlands Conference, it tells me that Sutton Sting is doing the right thing.

“If we can get kids to win at this level then our plan is working. All we need to do now is get more kids involved at the bottom end so that we can see more kids come out at this level.

“I am thrilled for the U11s and for Brady too, who played for the U13 team.

“They have all worked hard all season and now they are enjoying their time in the spotlight.”