Warriors Keep Lions Out

Buddy hugs from Skippy for Adam Wood's powerplay goal

Buddy hugs from Skippy for Adam Wood’s powerplay goal. Photo by IceHockeyMedia.

Whitley Warriors achieved a 9-0 home win over Nottingham Lions on Sunday evening.

Taking to the ice with seventeen skaters and netminder Josh Crane between the pipes, the Warriors were pleased to welcome Captain Dean Holland back into their line-up, though defenceman Craig Johnson and forwards Adam Finlinson and Niall Ryder were amongst those missing once again. Meanwhile, Nottingham Lions made the trip with eighteen players, including Swiss dual national Zachary Yokoyama, eighteen-year-old Louie Newell and netminder Luca Sheldon.

Kyle Ross tries to get his dropped shot after Luca Sheldon fumbles it
Kyle Ross tries to get his dropped shot after Luca Sheldon fumbles it. Photo by IceHockeyMedia.

A frantic start to the first period saw both sides battle to open their accounts and included some early chances for Whitley as forward Callum Watson came close to slipping the puck past Sheldon’s right post and versatile Warrior Steven Chalmers displayed some skill in front of the net to surpass the Lions’ defence, only to see his effort blocked. Eventually, the Warriors went ahead as Holland made his presence felt on his return to the ice, picking up the puck in the neutral zone before firing home a high shot, defenceman Dylan Hehir assisting on 8:30. A delay of the game penalty for stand-in Alternate Captain Matt Brown approximately five minutes later gave Whitley the power play they needed to double their lead, utility player Adam Wood netting through the five-hole as the Warriors increased their attacking play, Chalmers assisting alongside experienced forward Shaun Kippin on 15:04. Fifty one seconds later, Sheldon was picking the puck from his net for a third time as Chalmers buried Watson’s rebound, making it 3-0. Aiming for a response, Nottingham set out to make Crane work at the other end of the ice, Yokoyama breaking to play the puck across to line mate Newell who couldn’t get his shot away. A subsequent one-on-one breakaway for Alternate Captain Jordan Barnes resulted in a save from Sheldon and moments later, Kippin played a pass across to Watson as the duo skated in on net but the Warriors were unable to extend their lead, leaving the score line at 3-0 as the teams headed in at the break.

Dean Holland uses Ben Marples to screen his shot
Dean Holland uses Ben Marples to screen his shot. Photo by IceHockeyMedia.

In the opening stages of the middle stanza, forward Matthew Betham picked up a holding sticks penalty on 22:32 which placed Whitley on a penalty kill. Though Nottingham operated with a strong power play unit, the Warriors cleared the danger from their defensive zone to return to full strength unscathed. With the sides even-handed, Newell had a superb opportunity to grab a goal for his team, going one-on-one with Crane when Whitley’s defensive pairing were caught out by the forward but he could not execute his chance. A second power play was then afforded the Lions at the halfway point of the contest when Watson was punished for a high sticks offence against Newell and Nottingham came close to making this opportunity count as forward Toby Fisher struck the metalwork. Just over two minutes after his return to the ice, Watson spun with the puck to net Chalmers’ rebounded shot, Wood assisting on 34:29. Fifty one seconds later, Barnes tapped home, picking up the loose puck after Holland skilfully worked his way through the Lions’ defence. Taking control of the game, the Warriors added a sixth goal to their tally just over two minutes later when forward Jamie Ord went top shelf courtesy of Kyle Ross on 37:56, allowing the home team to go in with a comfortable lead at the second interval.

Jordan Barnes scores through Luca Sheldon's 5 hole
Jordan Barnes nets to Sheldon’s left. Photo by IceHockeyMedia.

Heading out for the third period, the Lions opted for a change of netminder, switching Sheldon for shot stopper Matthew Bloor, but Whitley were quick off the mark, netting on 41:28 as Latvian Rihards Grigors played the puck to forward Ross Douglass who shot from the high slot to make it 7-0. With Nottingham putting up a fight, Grigors momentarily lost discipline to find himself sidelined for a high sticks offence against Yokoyama on 46:15. Just over two minutes after this penalty terminated, the Warriors fell foul of the rule book once again, this time receiving a bench penalty for too many men on the ice at the midpoint of the period. Preventing the Lions from netting on the power play, Whitley returned their focus to Bloor’s net and reaped the rewards of their persistence, Barnes grabbing his second goal of the evening as Holland’s shot deflected into the net off the alternate captain, Hehir also assisting on 53:29 to make it 8-0. Outshooting the Lions by 22 shots to 7 in this period, the Warriors worked the puck around Nottingham’s defensive zone with confidence and were able to collect a ninth goal as Douglass’ rebounded attempt fell into the path of Wood in the high slot, allowing the defenceman to rocket a shot past Bloor on 57:55 despite Newell’s effort to block the Warrior’s attempt. In the final minutes of the game, Whitley sought to take their goal count into double figures but it was not to be, the final buzzer calling time on the side’s conclusive 9-0 win.

The Lions sleep tonight as Adam Wood eases past their defence
The Lions sleep tonight as Adam Wood eases past their defence. Photo by IceHockeyMedia.


Shots on goal
Warriors: 67
Lions:       27

Adam Wood (2+1), Jordan Barnes (2+0), Dean Holland (1+2), Steven Chalmers (1+2), Callum Watson (1+1), Jamie Ord (1+1),Ross Douglass (1+1), Shaun Kippin (0+2), Dylan Hehir (0+2), Kyle Ross (0+2), Rihards Grigors (0+1)

Penalty minutes
Warriors: 8
Lions:       2

Man of the Match
Warriors: Matty McDonald
Lions:       Louie Newell