Warriors travelled down to Yorkshire to take on the Sheffield Spartans on Saturday afternoon. Whitley were without a number of players due to injuries however both Martin Crammond and Callum Queenan came back into the squad after missing last weekend’s game against the Sutton Sting.
Whitley’s roster included 8 forwards, 6 defencemen including 16 year old Craig Johnson making his senior debut and 2 goaltenders in Richie Lawson and Mark Turnbull.
Spartans had the games first chance when Sheffield d man Jonathan Kirk burst forward however Warriors defence were able to thwart last seasons NIHL North young player of the season as he looked to put the home side ahead inside the opening minute of play. Whitley ran into a little penalty trouble early as Dean Holland and Craig Johnson were sent to the box for minor infringements however Warriors were able to kill those penalties off successfully.
Twelve minutes into the match Spartans lost their skipper Ollie Barron as he was given 5 minutes plus a game for boarding Alex Lawson. There was a brief stoppage in play as Alex regained his composure after the coming together. Warriors generated a number of offensive opportunties on the resulting extended power play however Whitley could just not find a way past Sheffield goalie Brandon Stones as Dean Holland and DJ Good both went close.
Whitley started the 2nd session of play on the power play after Spartans d man Ross Jordan had been sent to the sin bin for holding however Simon Leach’s side were unable to make their advantage count at the time. Warriors soon took the lead though as with 33 minutes on the clock as Dean Holland coolly slotted home to fire Whitley into the lead. Warriors almost made it 2-0 seconds later when Alex Lawson brought a smart stop out of Spartans netminder Brandon Stones.
Towards the end of the 2nd period Whitley youngster Ben Richards was given a 2 minute penalty for high sticks however Warriors were able to end the 2nd period still a goal to the good thanks to some resolute defensive work on the penalty kill from Dan Pye, Dan Harris and Whitley goalie Richie Lawson.
The game turned on its head after 47 minutes when Stuart Brittle (power play)and Dave Pyatt both netted for home side in a frantic 33 second spell. This two goal burst lifted the Spartans fans however Whitley continued to play their disciplined hockey.
Warriors were rewarded for their efforts when they were able to tie the game up on 53 minutes as Harry Harley fired home after some nice work from Ben Richards and Paul Matthews.
Whitley had a late power play opportunity when Sheffield’s Stuart Brittle was given 2 minutes for tripping. Warriors generated a great number of chances during their spell with the man advantage however Brandon Stones in Spartans goal made several fine stops which saw the game end at 2 all.
Richie Lawson was chosen as Warriors Man of the Match while Spartans Ross Jordan was selected as Sheffield’s top performer. Whitley are in action twice next weekend as Simon Leach’s side travel to the Scottish Borders to take on the Solway Sharks in the St Andrews Cup on Saturday before a league match up on home ice the following day (Sunday 12th October, face off 5pm) when Warriors take on the Spartans.