Warriors edged out in thriller

Richie Lawson

Richie Lawson. Photo by IceHockeyMedia

Whitley Warriors entertained the Hull Pirates on Sunday evening on North Tyneside. Warriors had their entire squad of players available for this encounter which enabled Whitley to operate 3 forward and defensive lines throughout the contest. Richie Lawson retained his place in goal following his Man of the Match display in last Sunday’s game with the Solway Sharks.

Warriors almost opened the scoring on 15 minutes when a flowing move involving both Ben Richards and David Longstaff set Shaun Kippin in on the Pirates goal however the officials on duty ruled Warriors number 11 had strayed fractionally offside. Whitley went close again at the start of the 2nd period when Jordan Barnes was thwarted by Ashley Smith in the Hull goal, Pirates quickly worked their way up the ice though and Bobby Chamberlain grabbed the game’s opening goal for the visitors from close range.

Whitley were not behind for long though as a speculative effort from big blue liner Dan Pye found the back of the net with 23 minutes on the clock. Hull were still looking dangerous offensively and Matty Davies put the visitors back in the lead when some superb stick handling allowed him just enough room to fire the puck home. Pirates continued to create opportunities and Warriors netminder Richie Lawson made several superb stops from the likes of Sam Towner and Bobby Chamberlain to ensure Whitley were still firmly in the game. Warriors d man Martin Crammond tied the game up on 35 minutes, he picked the puck up from David Longstaff and advanced into the Pirates zone before firing home his first goal of the 2017/18 season.

Martin Crammond
Martin Crammond. Photo by IceHockeyMedia

The final period of play saw Hull exert a great deal of pressure on Warriors defence however Whitley were looking dangerous on the counter attack and Callum Watson fired Warriors into the lead on 54 minutes when the winger netted an unassisted marker. Whitley worked hard to hold onto their lead in the final minutes of the game even killing off a slashing penalty picked up by Watson, Richie Lawson once again made a number of smart stops to ensure Warriors retained their lead.

With under 2 minutes remaining in the game Pirates pulled their netminder to allow them to get the extra skater out onto the ice. This gave the Whitley the chance to grab that crucial 4th goal and kill the game off, Warriors Phil Edgar’s managed to gain control of the puck however his shot from distance agonisingly cannoned back off the post. Pirates were able to launch one final attack and with only 19 seconds left in the contest Jonathan Kirk drew the scores level when he found of the back of the net.

With the scores being tied after 60 minutes of action the game went into 3 on 3 overtime where both teams had to choose their players extremely carefully to ensure they did not lose out in the extra 5 minutes of play. Warriors gave all they had however neither themselves or the Pirates could find that elusive game winning goal and the match went into penalty shots.

The first 2 shots of the shoot out were not converted however Hull then took advantage when Bobby Chamberlain slotted home before Dean Holland fired wide for Whitley which meant if Matty Davies netted for Hull the Pirates would claim the victory and the experienced former GB international found the back of the net which ensured a victory for the side from Humberside.

Warriors Man of the Match went to Richie Lawson for an incredible display in goal in which he saved 64 of the 67 shots he faced in regulation time. Matty Davies was chosen as the visitor’s best player over the course of the match up.

Whitley are back in action on home ice next Saturday evening when the Nottingham Lions visit Hillheads.

Richie Lawson
Richie Lawson. Photo by IceHockeyMedia