Whitley Warriors first home league game of the 2014/15 saw Warriors beat the Sutton Sting by 4 goals to 2 in front of a large passionate crowd at Hillheads. Warriors were able to include Ben Richards in their line up as the youngster was now back to full fitness however the experienced blue liner Rob Wilson was still out of action due to a back problem.
Warriors started the game with 3 forward lines and 3 defensive pairings with youngster Liam Smedly joining veteran Paul Matthews on Whitley’s 2nd defensive line. Senior goaltender Richie Lawson started the game for Warriors with youngster Mark Turnbull acting as back up netminder.
Whitley started the game on the front foot and took the lead with just 4 minutes on the clock when Harry Harley fired home after being set up by linemate Dean Holland. Warriors continued to create openings during the opening period of play and Harry Harley made it 2-0 to Whitley on 15 minutes after Dean Holland had once again created the chance.
Shortly into the 2nd period Sutton’s Reece Cairney-Witter came to blows with Warriors Scott Cooper after Cairney-Witter was given a minor penalty for tripping Whitley defenceman Josh Maddock. Cooper was given 4 minutes in the penalty box for his indiscretion while Cairney-Witter had to sit out of the game for 6 minutes.
Warriors young forward Kyle Ross picked up a 2 minute penalty for tripping shortly afterwards and Sting made no mistake on their first powerplay opportunity as Sutton’s skipper James Goodman fired a powerful slap shot past Whitley netminder Richie Lawson. Sutton looked a threat offensively with their Slovakian forward Ivo Celar impressing however it was Whitley who grabbed the games next goal when teenage winger Ben Richards fired home unassisted which saw Warriors hold a lead 3-1.
Whitley had to reorganise their forward lines a little in the 2nd session of play as Adam Reynolds had to leave the action due to an ankle injury and then Alex Lawson was given a 10 minute misconduct penalty which limited Warriors offensive options a little.
Sting’s Cairney-Witter continued to antagonise Warriors and he and Whitley power forward Jordan Barnes dropped the gloves towards the end of the 2nd period. Both players were sent to the sin bin on double roughing minor penalties for their coming together.
Jamie Tinsley Warriors skipper extended his sides advantage just 33 seconds into the final period when he netted after some pleasing approach play from Harry Harley and Dan Harris. Sutton were still in the contest though and Sting pulled a goal back with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game when James Goodman grabbed his 2nd powerplay marker of the evening.
Whitley ran into some penalty trouble late on as Sting pressed forward in search of goals however despite Sutton calling a late time out to adapt their tactics and opting to pull their netminder so they could have an extra out skater Sting were unable to add to their 2 goals and Warriors took the points on offer in this NIHL North Division 1 encounter.
Warriors Points –
Harry Harley 2+1, Jamie Tinsley 1+1, Ben Richards 1+0, Dean Holland 0+2, Dan Pye and Dan Harris 0+1
Sting Points –
James Goodman 2+0, Shannon Lingwood, Slav Movko and Mark Turner 0+1
Ben Richards was chosen as Warriors Man of the Match while Sutton’s Russian born goaltender Dmitri Zimzodra who had made a number of fine stops during the game was selected as the away team’s top player during the match up.
Whitley are in action next weekend when Warriors travel down to Ice Sheffield to take on the Sheffield Spartans on Saturday (4th October). The clubs next home game is on Sunday October 12th when Warriors host the Spartans at Hillheads in a game that is scheduled to face off at 5pm.