Double frustration for Solent Devils

Solent Devils player Mitchell Murray celebrates Ben Lock's goal against Oxford City Stars. Picture: Dave Chapman
Solent Devils player Mitchell Murray celebrates Ben Lock's goal against Oxford City Stars. Picture: Dave Chapman
Richard Facey scores for Solent Devils against Haringey Huskies. Picture: Neil Marshall (171743-729)

IN PICTURES: Solent Devils 7 Haringey Huskies 2

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Solent Devils had to settle for two high-scoring draws in last weekend’s National League south division one double-header.

The Gosport Ice Arena outfit drew 5-5 with Oxford City Stars as they resumed after the festive break last Saturday.

And then 24 hours later they were held to an identical scoreline at Milton Keynes Thunder.

The draws left the Devils eighth in the table – three points adrift of London Raiders, who they host on Sunday (7pm).

A sluggish start to 2016 saw the Devils slip 4-1 behind in the first period against Oxford.

The first knocked under Christian Cole’s pad by his brother and skipper Alex.

And to rub salt into the wound, the next two came while the home side were short-handed.

Alex Murray set up his brother Mitchell Murray, during a power play, to reduce the deficit.

Stars alternate captain was sent to the bin for a total of 27 minutes in the second period after reacting aggressively to a challenge from Alex Trendall.

Noth further goals were added until the final quarter when Mitchell Murray grabbed a second.

Richard Brown followed this up, with some help from Paul Petts and Shaun Rudkin, before Ben Lock powered a shot through traffic to tie the game.

Good work by Richard Facey and George Norcliffe then teed Ralf Circenis up to put the Devils in front.

But disaster struck with less then three minutes left when, after Rudkin was sent off for interference, Oxford pulled their netminder and notched an equaliser.

And the goals came thick and fast at Milton Keynes, too.

Circenis was in the bin when the hosts opened the scoring but Alex Murray soon levelled after good work by Alex Cole and Facey.

Thunder regained the lead before the break only for Alex Murray to double his tally, with the help of Alex Cole and Rudkin.

Two goals in quick succession – from Trendall and a 15th of the season by Norcliffe – then put the Devils in control.

But despite Alex Murray completing his hat-trick, they let their advantage slip and were unable to get their noses in front again.