Whitley Warriors had a busy weekend as they travelled down to South Yorkshire on Saturday evening to take on the Sheffield Steeldogs before a clash with the Billingham Stars on home ice on Sunday night.
Despite the recent horrific weather Warriors were able to take a strong squad of players down to Sheffield on Saturday evening. Whitley trailed 2-0 after the first period of play however Warriors were firmly in the game as they almost equalled their hosts shot count in the first 20 minutes of action.
However Steeldogs were able to add a further five goals over the remainder of the contest which saw Sheffield take the game by a 7-0 scoreline. Warriors skipper Dean Holland was named Man of the Match for Whitley with Lloyd Gibson being chosen as the home side’s best player.
Warriors welcomed senior netminder Richie Lawson back into their line up when Billingham headed to North Tyneside on Sunday evening. Whitley had the better of the first session of play as Warriors led 2-0 at the first intermission thanks to goals from player/coach David Longstaff and captain Dean Holland.
Jordan Barnes extended the home sides lead on 27 minutes when he found the back of the net with David Longstaff picking up the assist. Whitley went onto make it 4-0 midway through the final period of play when Shaun Kippin was able to get the better of former Warrior James Flavell in the visitors net.
Blue liner Harry Harley grabbed himself a goal with 53 minutes on the clock when Warriors number 24 fired home with the influential Dean Holland involved in the build up play. Whitley ran into a little penalty trouble late on with Josh Maddock and Dean Holland falling foul of the officials on duty however Stars were unable to take advantage of a shortened powerplay opportunity and the game ended as a conclusive 5-0 derby victory to Warriors.
Richie Lawson was named as Warriors Man of the Match which was thoroughly deserved as the talented goaltender saved everyone of the 44 shots that came his way in the contest recording a 100% save percentage and a shut out. Youngster Ethan Hehir was named as the Stars best player on the night for a hard working display.
Next weekend sees Warriors face the Deeside Dragons in a road game on Saturday evening before the short trip to Teesside on Sunday when Whitley take on Billingham Stars once again. These 2 games are Warriors last league games of the season and it is anticipated that Whitley’s play off campaign is likely to get underway the following weekend when David Longstaff and his side look to achieve post season success against the best sides that participate in NIHL hockey.