Jets Grounded by Maverick Warriors

Adam Finlinson gets the shot away against Jets' netminder Warren Gilfoyle

Adam Finlinson gets the shot away against Jets' netminder Warren Gilfoyle. Photo by Charlie Mood.

In the penultimate weekend of the league fixtures a huge match between Hull Jets and Whitley Warriors took place at Hillheads. This was the final league game at home for the Warriors as they looked to make important strides in the playoff picture. Hull Jets arrived at Whitley Bay one place above the Warriors in the standings so this game would be crucial in determining who either side faces come playoff weekend. The Jets had a three game win streak ended by Billingham Stars last Sunday in a 3-0 defeat. The Warriors would also be looking to bounce back after a 7-5 defeat to Deeside Dragons.

The Warriors started the first period fast with Adam Finlinson having a shot in the first ten seconds. It was a matter of time before the Warriors scored with this sustained pressure and they got the breakthrough at 04.52. Harry Harley and Phillip Edgar getting the assists on a Jordan Barnes goal.

Barnes was in the thick of it again when he received two hooking minors at 10.49. The Warriors stood tall and Wardell made a great stick save. The aggressive penalty kill strategy from the Warriors was on full display. Wetherall had a breakaway opportunity but Gilfoyle was up to the task.

Oliver King was the next Warrior player to get a sight of goal on the penalty kill taking the puck from behind the net but couldn’t squeeze it past the pads of Gilfoyle. Whilst in front of the net, King received a push for his troubles and returned the favour only to be called for roughing. Many of the fans in the stands were not pleased with the retaliation call but the Jets went on a 5 on 3 powerplay with 07.27 left in the first.

The Warriors successfully killed the Jets powerplay as they racked up 6 penalty minutes in the first period. Back to even strength the Warriors started to pile the pressure on again. Gilfoyle made quite an impressive glove save from an Adam Finlinson shot. Jets then headed to the penalty box when Ethan Daintith was called for hooking at 14.53.

Adam Robinson had the best of the powerplay opportunities for Warriors but ultimately Gilfoyle kept the Warriors out, he was having a solid first period. As the Jets went back to even strength Jay Lucas and Rihards Grigors passed the puck around the offensive zone well and this time it was Lewis Crisp who was denied by Gilfoyle.

The relentless onslaught from the Warriors created another goal when Kyle Ross skated past the blue line, unable to find a pass, the puck bounced kindly and Ross shot it past Gilfoyle to put the Warriors up 2-0. Dean Holland and Philip Edgar with the assists for the second with just 51 seconds remaining in the first.

The Jets finished the second period showing fight when Boris Giba fed the puck to Daintith who forced an excellent save from Wardell. Wardell didn’t have much to do in the first period but was reliable when he was called upon.

1st Period Scoring
Whitley 1-0 Hull – 04:52, G Jordan Barnes, A Philip Edgar, Harry Harley
Whitley 2-0 Hull – 19.09, G Kyle Ross, A Philip Edgar, Dean Holland

Jordan Barnes and Anth Wetherell causing problems in front of the Hull net
Jordan Barnes and Anth Wetherell causing problems in front of the Hull net. Photo by Charlie Mood.

Warriors were fast out the gates again in the second period and created a flurry of chances in the opening five minutes of the period. Liam Smedley had his shot blocked at 23.10. Adam Robinson rounded the net but the Warriors could not find the finishing touch.

The Hull Jets began to show clear signs of frustration and tempers began to flare when a few heavy hits were laid out. Adam Robinson received a five minute penalty for interference. It was a pretty lacklustre powerplay for the Jets whose best opportunity arose when Dean Holland mishandled the puck in the defensive zone but he recovered well and the Warriors killed the powerplay.

It was a feisty second period which saw Shaun Kippin and Jordan Barnes exchange words with the Jets players. This did not deter the Warriors when Kyle Ross again showcased his ability keeping the puck away from the Jets in the offensive zone before throwing it on net. Harley picked up the loose puck and passed it to Edgar who set up Grigors nicely. Everyone in the arena expected Grigors to shoot the puck so when he pretended to shoot and fed the puck back to Edgar, he had plenty of time and space to score a brilliant wrist shot with 33.56 on the clock.

Warriors would find themselves on the powerplay again when Scott Morris received two minutes for hooking at 34.30. It was a dangerous looking powerplay from the Warriors with Jamie Ord and Shaun Kippin generating a lot of traffic in front of the Jets net. In the end, Gilfoyle had to lay on the puck to freeze it. Harley managed to get a few good shots in but the powerplay expired and the Warriors didn’t add to their lead.

Nearing the end of the second period, Kieran Beach managed to breakaway but Wardell was once again up to the challenge making a pad save. Kyle Ross was then called for two minutes on an interference penalty much to the dismay of the Hillhead faithful. The fans really got behind the team and created an electric atmosphere cheering the Warriors on.

The Jets went back on the powerplay at 38.44 but Adam Wood showed great strength and defensive skill to keep the Jets from scoring. Holland did turn the puck over but the Warriors saw out the rest of the period.

2nd Period Scoring
Whitley 3-0 Hull – 33.56, G Philip Edgar, A Rihards Grigors, Dean Holland

The Warriors killed off the remainder of the powerplay to start the final period of the game. Nathan Otley would then find himself in the box when he received two minutes for interference with the clock at 42.04. This left some in the arena unhappy and Jordan Barnes had plenty to say to Otley as he headed to the box.

Warriors would score on the powerplay as they passed the puck around the offensive zone nicely. Finlinson passed to Grigors who found Harley quite nicely and he glided in and wristed the puck past Gilfoyle 39 seconds into the powerplay, 4-0 with 42.43 on the clock.

As the game approached the 15.22 mark of the third period, Adam Robinson was unlucky not to score when he shot wide. This was followed up by Jordan Barnes who came even closer when he hit the post.

The Warriors continued to put pressure on the Jets and with twelve minutes left Gilfoyle lost his stick. With fans urging the Warriors to shoot, Jay Lucas had his attempt blocked and Gilfoyle got his stick back with the puck cleared. Connor Lewis passed the puck to Jamie Ord who reentered the offensive zone and released the puck quickly catching Gilfoyle off guard netting the Warriors fifth goal of the night at 48.18. Jamie Ord played really well and deserved a goal for his performance.

The Jets responded a minute later when Kieran Beach passed the puck to Scott Morris who shot an absolute rocket as he skated in the offensive zone. Wardell didn’t stand a chance with the quick release going post and in at 49.46. I think Wardell will be disappointed he didn’t get a shutout but he played well and I don’t think any netminder in the Elite League would have stopped that one.

Kyle Ross then skated coast to coast but Owen Yarrow was unable to convert. Jamie Ord then shot the puck over the net hitting the glass and the Jets struggled to clear their zone with 7.11 remaining. Gilfoyle played the puck from behind his net only for Lucas to pick it up and fire it on net but Gilfoyle recovered in time.

In the last five minutes, the Warriors were firmly in control. Kyle Ross had a shot where Gilfoyle made a good save with his blocker. The Warriors were passing it around the offensive zone nicely and scored a goal which was ruled out for goaltender interference. This led to a lot of frustration from the fans and the players. I must say I didn’t see any interference but there must have been someone in the goalies blue paint. The game continued with a face off at the Jets blue line.

With 2.40 remaining, Jets Harry Barwell received two minutes for tripping which cheered the Hillheads faithful up. The Warriors ran down the clock and the powerplay expired. Wetherall passed the puck to Grigors who passed to Barnes who scored his second of the night as the final buzzer went.

3rd Period Scoring
Whitley Warriors 4-0 Hull Jets – PPG Harry Harley, A Rihard Grigors, Adam Finlinson
Whitley 5-0 Hull – G Jamie Ord, A Connor Lewis
Whitley 5-1 Hull – G Scott Morris, A Kieran Beach
Whitley 6-1 Hull – G Jordan Barnes, A Rihard Grigors, Anthony Wetherall

Final score
Whitley 6 – 1 Hull

Man of the Match
Hull – Warren Gilfoyle
Whitley – Phil Edgar

This was an excellent display from the Warriors and they finished their league games at home on a high, generating lots of offence and not giving up too many chances. The Jets will be disappointed as they didn’t turn up for large parts of this match. Gilfoyle was the Jets’ man of the match despite giving up 6 goals which demonstrates just how good the Warriors offence was. Gilfoyle made some great saves but ultimately didn’t have much help from the players in front of him. Edgar had an excellent game for the Warriors and was a constant threat so it is no surprise he received the Warriors’ man of the match.

The Warriors are now two points behind the Jets with a game in hand. The final two games next weekend against Nottingham and Billingham will be crucial. Hull and Whitley will either face Blackburn, Solihull or Deeside depending on next week’s results.

Man of the Match Phil Edgar is photobombed by the usual suspects
Man of the Match Phil Edgar is photobombed by the usual suspects. Photo by Charlie Mood.