Whitley Warriors took on the Telford Tigers on Sunday evening on home ice at Hillheads in Whitley Bay. Warriors welcomed back Ryan Sample into their line up after the power forward had a lengthy spell away from competitive hockey. Whitley skipper Dean Holland also came back into the Warriors line up to boost the home side’s roster further. Telford brought a strong squad of players North with them as they were able to ice the likes of imports Jason Silverthorn and Kim Miettinen and experienced Brits such as Warren Tait and Rick Plant.
Warriors started the game well and took the lead with only a minute played when Ryan Sample slotted home with his first touch on his return to action for Whitley. The Warriors forward line of Sample, Shaun Kippin and player/coach David Longstaff were combining well and that line was on the ice when Sample netted his 2nd goal of the contest nicely tipping in a shot from the blue line.
As the period progressed referee Elliott issued a number of penalties to both sides and Tigers made the most of their powerplay opportunities as Adam Taylor and Daniel Rose fired home while the visitors had the man advantage to tie the game up at 2 all after 20 minutes of hockey.
Warriors switched their netminders after Telford’s 2nd goal with Richie Lawson replacing Mark Turnbull in goal. Lawson was soon called into action as the experienced shot stopper pulled out a number of smart saves early in the 2nd period to keep the scores level.
Warriors retook the lead on 27 minutes when Shaun Kippin found the back of the net with the assists going to Sample and Longstaff after a flowing move from Whitley split the Telford defence open to the delight of the Warriors supporters in the crowd. Tigers were still creating plenty of scoring opportunities of their own though and 6 minutes later youngster Adam Taylor drew the scores level for Telford when he broke away from the home defence and guided the puck home.
Towards the end of the 2nd period Tigers import d man Miettinen was given an illegal equipment penalty by the officials on duty which gave Warriors the opportunity to start the final session of play with the man advantage however Sam Hewitt in the visitors net prevented Warriors from scoring with 2 impressive stops from David Longstaff in quick succession.
Tigers grabbed their 3rd powerplay goal of the game on 46 minutes when their player/coach Tom Watkins found the top corner of the net with an effort from just inside the blue line. Telford went onto make it 5-3 late on when Jason Silverthorn slotted home for the visitors after being set up Rick Plant and Jordan Stokes.
Warriors pulled their netminder for the extra forward in the dying minutes of the contest however Telford were able to get the puck out of their own defensive zone and grab the empty net goal through Warren Tait which saw the Tigers claim a 6-3 success against a very resilient Warriors side who gave their all over the 60 minutes of play against an extremely talented Telford line up.
Josh Maddock was chosen as Warriors man of the match for a gritty defensive display while Jason Silverthorn was selected as Tigers best player on the night.
Warriors are in action next weekend away from home down in Teesside where they take on the Billingham Stars, Whitley’s next game on home ice is against the Solway Sharks on Sunday October 29th.