Solihull Barons 8
Nottingham Lions 0
A SEASON record crowd of over 800 loyal Barons fans descended on a Solihull rink, as icy out as it was in, to cheer on the boys in red and white in their efforts to clinch a National Ice Hockey league promotion play-off place.
Despite having the title won, the Nottingham Lions arrived in Solihull with a full roster, missing only talismanic netminder Sam Gospel who was away on duty for Elite Champions the Nottingham Panthers.
From the puck drop it was obvious the Sheldon Jewellery Centre Barons wanted the result as much as they needed it. Rob Eley opened the scoring just after nine minutes and two minutes later and the Barons top scorer Rich Slater picked up the Barons second from close in.
The remainder of the first saw the Barons playing most of the time a man down and while the Lions failed to capitalise, the Barons ambitions were curtailed.
The second period started much the same as the first ended with the Barons continually a man down through a series of penalties as Solihull net minder Sam Hewitt helped maintain the Barons two goal cushion with a series of crucial saves.
Toward the period close, a beautifully worked effort saw the Barons Andy Whitehouse release a sweetly timed pass to meet Mike Rodger racing from the bench for the Barons third goal of the night.
The third period saw the Barons begin to stretch their legs with three goals in three minutes. Rich Slater got the Barons fourth, sneaking the puck under Lions keeper Alan Leavers, with Joe Henry picking up a rebound to put Solihull five up, while a race up the wing saw Dave Rogers loft the Barons sixth into the Lions net.
Jake Larkin joined in the fun with a tapped in rebound for goal number seven, while Joe Henry finished the Barons scoring with a calmly executed short handed breakaway goal.
The Barons now travel to Nottingham this Sunday knowing a win will give them second place in Division 2 and with it a chance to face local rivals, the Coventry Blaze, to decide which of the two West Midlands sides plays in Division 1 for 2013-14.