Reynolds in fine form as Warriors beat Sutton 4-3
Whitley Warriors were in action once last weekend when Simon Leach’s side entertained the Sutton Sting on Sunday evening at Hillheads Ice Rink in Whitley Bay. Warriors had a full roster of players available for the contest apart from the injured Ross Hanlon who was ruled out of the game with a knee injury.
New signing Ryan Sample was included in Whitley’s squad for the first time since he re-signed for the club and he operated on Warriors 3rd forward line during his comeback appearance. Richie Lawson started the game in nets for Warriors as Whitley went with 3 forward lines and defensive pairings during the match up.
Once the action got underway Sutton flew out of the blocks, Canadian import forward Thomas Stuart-Dant fired Sting into the lead with just 2 minutes on the clock. Sutton continued to create openings and Chris Sykes made it 2-0 to the visitors just before 4 minutes had been played to the delight of the traveling bench and their supporters.
Despite conceding 2 early goals Warriors game plan was unaffected and Whitley were rewarded when Adam Reynolds lit the lamp just before the 7 minute mark with an unassisted goal . Reynolds was in the thick of the action and 3 minutes later he set up DJ Good who slotted home to tie the game up at 2 all with only 10 minutes on the clock.
There were no further goals in the first period of play however Warriors did run into some penalty trouble as Ryan Sample was given 2 minutes in the sin bin for boarding while skipper DJ Good was penalised for holding his opponents stick. Whitley were able to kill both of these penalties off thanks to some disciplined defensive work from their short handed units.
Mark Turner fired Sting into a 3-2 lead midway through the 2nd period with a powerplay strike, Warriors Rob Wilson was in the penalty box at the time as referee Wardell had penalised him on a tripping call. No further goals were scored in the middle session of play which saw Warriors going into the final 20 minutes of the game needing 2 goals to take the 2 points that were on offer.
Whitley started the 3rd period positively and after some nice approach play from Adam Reynolds Karl Culley fired into an empty net to tie the contest at 3 goals apiece. Warriors netminder Richie Lawson also picked up an assist on the goal as his clearance had found Reynolds in space on the wing in the build up to the goal.
Warriors were looking dangerous on every attack now and Simon Leach’s side went into lead on 47 minutes when Adam Reynolds netted his 2nd of the game and 6th of the season after some nice approach play from line mate Karl Culley and defenceman Tommy Ralph.
Whitley continued to create chances however Sting netminder Dmitri Zimozdra was in fine form stopping a number of goal bound efforts. His best save came when Adam Reynolds went one on one with him and powered a shot to his left however Zimzodra was still able to take the puck cleanly.
Despite some late pressure from Sutton Warriors were able to hold out for the victory in front of another pleasing crowd at Hillheads. Whitley now have 9 points from the 6 games they have played so far this season which firmly puts the Tynesiders in the play off picture at the top of the NIHL North Moralee Conference.
Adam Reynolds was deservedly chosen as Warriors man of the match for his 4 (2+2) point haul while Sting d man Simon Offord was selected as the visitors best player on the night.
Whitley Points –
Adam Reynolds 2+2, Karl Culley 1+1, DJ Good 1+0, Callum Watson, Tommy Ralph and Richie Lawson 0+1
Whitley Coach Simon Leach shared his views on the match up.
“It was a good game, they are a quality team. Again we’ve had to come back from a couple of goals down. We seem to be doing things the hard way at the minute but we had a game plan and if I’m honest we had enough opportunities to win the game.
“Their netminder played well. We got off to a flying start in the 3rd period with Adam Reynolds set up Culley for a fantastically worked goal which put them on the back foot a bit. We got ourselves ahead and we then played an extremely disciplined game.
“Because of the stop/start nature of the beginning of our season its been difficult to get any momentum going but everyones played well tonight. Our top players played well and you’ve got to give credit to Adam (Reynolds) tonight.”
Warriors Man of the Match Adam Reynolds also gave his opinion on the game.
“I was happy to get the goals but its all about the team picking up the 2 points and if my goals help the team win then I’m happy. It was a scrappy game at times but I felt we deserved the win as I think we were the better team overall.”
Warriors take on Sutton again next weekend when the two teams meet at Sting’s home venue Ice Sheffield on Sunday afternoon. Whitley’s next home fixture is the weekend after when the Manchester Minotaurs travel up to the north east on Sunday 3rd November (face off 5pm) for a NIHL North Moralee Conference match up in Whitley Bay.