Whitley Warriors got back to winning ways last night when they hosted Sheffield Scimitars and skated off with a 7-1 victory.
The Warriors were missing some senior players with forwards Jamie Ord, Callum Queenan, Steven Chalmers, Adam Finlinson and Thomas Fraser all unavailable, while Josh Crane also didn’t feature meaning Dean Bowater got his first start of the season in goal. Rihards Grigors was a welcome return to the blue line though, while Owen Yarrow made just his third start for the team since stepping up from the Braves.
Sheffield arrived with just 13 skaters and two goalies in what was a very young side with Brandon Stones starting in net for the visitors.
In what was a frantic start both sides looked fired up before the game settled down with Whitley in control.
The home side thought they had the lead at 9:31 when Jay Lucas had the puck in the back of the net but the officials disallowed the strike for goaltender interference. There was some confusion, with the red light coming on well before the net was taken off its moorings but Lucas felt he was tripped which caused him to fall into goalie Brandon Stones rather than any deliberate collision. There wasn’t any protest from the Scimitars either but the goal was wiped off and the Warriors continued to push for the opening strike.
A minute later Dean Holland thought he had scored but somehow the puck stayed out as it flashed across goal. But they did eventually find the breakthrough at 10:41 when the Whitley captain fired home into the roof of the net with a fiercely driven shot that cannoned back out again.
Whitley thought they had scored again five minutes later but the goal was disallowed as it was adjudged to have been kicked in off a skate but they did double their lead at 16:41 when Anthony Wetherell fired home. Adam Wood did well to keep the puck inside the zone before, Matthew Betham controlled and found Wetherell who from the high slot was able to gather the puck in, drag it back and under his control which enabled him to get more power on his shot to find the far bottom left corner.
Warriors got off to a great start to the second period when Phil Edgar scored one of the goals of the season just 13 seconds in. Controlling a pass from Jay Lucas he deked goalie Stones, dragged the puck back, fell to his knees and went across the crease before tucking it underneath the pads for a fantastic finish.
Whitley now looked comfortable and at 33:30 Matthew Betham found Lewis Crisp in the right place in the high slot to make it 4-0. The former Billingham forward looked up and shot the puck into the top corner, on the right hand side, giving Stones no chance to stop it.
A minute later the Warriors went further ahead when Phil Edgar played the puck out to the blue line, for Harry Harley to rifle a shot with a one timer into the top right hand corner.
Sheffield called a time out immediately afterwards to try and slow the Warriors momentum and to regroup but just moments later they found themselves on the penalty kill when Reece Wickens was called for a trip on Owen Yarrow.
Nick Winters came into the net for Brandon Stones at the start of the third period and it seemed to stem the bleeding as the Scimitars had their strongest passage of the game. It took almost ten minutes in before the Warriors added to their tally.
A 3-on-1 break saw the home side grab goal number six. Connor Lewis found Phil Edgar who in turn played a perfect pass across to Dean Holland for him to tap into the net as he cut in off the right wing.
Anthony Wetherell nearly got his second for the night when he stabbed a rebound against the post with less than three minutes to go. Before Phil Edgar made it seven with 90 seconds remaining. His first effort took a deflection off the goalie’s pad and when the puck came back out to him he fired past Winters on the right hand side.
With 21 seconds remaining the Scimitars grabbed a consolation which seemed cruel on Dean Bowater as he was so close to claiming a shutout, Jason Jia scoring after being put clear by his captain Scott Morris on the break. But the important thing was getting the win and keeping in touch with Solway at the top of the standings.
Warriors: Phil Edgar (2+3), Dean Holland (2+2), Anthony Wetherell (1+0), Lewis Crisp (1+0), Harry Harley (1+0), Matthew Betham (0+2), Jay Lucas (0+2), Ross Douglass (0+1), Adam Wood (0+1), Connor Lewis (0+1).
Scimitars: Jason Jia (1+0), Scott Morris (0+1), Isaac Tse (0+1).
Man of the Match
Warriors: Kyle Ross
Scimitars: Scott Morris