Murrayfield Racers’ under-20 goalie Andrew Wright picked up his first senior shut-out tonight – bizarrely playing against his own team.
He won the man-of-the-match award for the Billingham Stars following their 4-0 dead-rubber win over Racers in their NIHL North Cup match at Murrayfield ice rink.
Wright stepped in for the English outfit after their goalie James Flavell picked up a freak back injury whilst travelling to the game from Stockton-on-Tees.
Both Wright and Racers stopper Mark McGill starred between the pipes, although Billingham deserved the win, pulling away in the latter stages with three goals in the final period, against a Racers squad who looked a tired team less than 24 hours after Saturday’s 5-2 away win over Aberdeen Lynx in the Scottish National League.
A slightly sheepish looking Wright, said: “Tony (Racers director of hockey Tony Hand) phoned me earlier today and told me Billingham didn’t have a goalie. It was a great opportunity to get some experience on the ice. It went really well, just not so good for the home side, which is a bit disappointing, but I always want to play well.
“I’m not sure how may shots I saved, I’ll look at the stats later, but I thought I put in a good shift.”
After a goalless first period, Billingham took the lead in the 25th minute. Racers forward Kyle Murray was a little unlucky to be stripped of the puck at centre ice, leading to a Stars fast-break, and Cain Taylor, with a nice back-hand finish across McGill, flicking the puck in off his right hand post.
Racers thought they had equalised just after the half hour, but with the goal gaping for Richard Hartmann after Wright had saved an initial effort from distance, the 18-year was at full stretch to deny the experienced Slovakian as he attempted to bang the puck home on the rebound.
Although still in the game Racers were thoroughly outplayed in the third period, out-shot 20 to six, Ethan Hehir had already scored to make it 2-0 and he grabbed his second of the game with five minutes to play. Kevin Boyd completed the scoring with Billingham’s fourth late on.
Reflecting on the game, Tony Hand felt Saturday’s exertions in Aberdeen had not helped his players. “We played okay, but we looked flat after a tough game in Aberdeen last night. I think that took a lot out of us. As I say we played okay but it’s not to the sort of game we’d want to put on here every week.”