After last weekend’s 8-2 defeat to Telford Tigers, Whitley Warriors were eager to improve on their performance against the Shropshire outfit on Saturday evening, travelling with a slightly stronger line-up of eighteen skaters, this time defencemen Liam Smedley, Will Robson and Lawson Glasby making the trip alongside forward DJ Good whilst stand-in defenceman Ryan Sample was also available for this clash, having missed out on last weekend’s visit to Hull Arena.
Faced with Telford’s seventeen-man team which was still missing left winger Doug Clarkson, the Warriors instantly showed that they meant business when Alternate Captain Sam Zajac beat netminder Denis Bell with only forty eight seconds on the clock. Starting with a fast pace in the opening minutes of the game, Whitley exhibited their desire to test the Tigers and were rewarded with a second goal as left winger Ben Campbell doubled his team’s lead after receiving the puck from Captain Dean Holland on 6:05. This goal was followed by a late hit from forward Joseph Aston which presented David Longstaff’s men with the perfect opportunity to make the most of their additional skater, Holland again assisting line mate Campbell, though this time after a pass from fellow forward Good. Disappointed with their slow start, the Tigers replaced netminder Bell with backup shot stopper Thomas Hovell and it was not long after that they were awarded a power play of their own as Whitley’s forward Callum Watson was sidelined for holding. Forty four seconds later, Telford punished the Warrior’s misdemeanour with a goal to make it 3-1 on 10:39, defenceman Corey Goodison playing the puck across to Alternate Captain Jonathan Weaver who made up for his absence at Hillheads last Sunday with an assist; Silverthorn the man on target. Growing into this game, the home team began to claw their way back into the clash and eventually reduced their deficit to one as defenceman Jordan Stokes fed the puck to Scott McKenzie, allowing the forward to find right winger Andrew McKinney who netted just under five minutes after his side’s first goal. Concerned that Tom Watkins’ team were finding their feet at last, the Warriors threw everything into defence, prompting a hooking call against ‘D’ man Josh Maddock in the final stages of the period.
Killing the remaining nine seconds of this penalty at the beginning of the middle stanza, the Warriors returned to full strength unscathed but it was not long after that the Tigers drew level, McKenzie working his way behind Whitley’s defence and shooting the puck glove side as Goodison and Weaver notched their second assists of the evening. Dismayed to have their three-goal lead cancelled out, the Warriors then fell behind in the clash almost eight minutes later when a delayed slashing penalty incurred by Maddock gave McKenzie the chance to achieve his second goal which was a touch scrappier than his first, the puck landing kindly to allow the forward to tap it into an empty net. Having been hit hard in the opening period, the Tigers saw their chance to extend their lead further, making it 5-3 just fifty seconds later as Silverthorn grabbed his second of the game when Alternate Captain Rick Plant gained possession of the puck from Aston to register his first and only assist in the encounter. Unwilling to give up on the points, the Warriors continued to challenge netminder Hovell and their efforts proved fruitful when Shaun Kippin hit home on 32:55, Campbell once again demonstrating his skill after receiving the puck from blue liner Smedley. The game becoming heated due to the closely competitive nature of the contest, tempers spilled over moments later when youngster Brodie Jesson hit Whitley’s defenceman Kyle Ross from behind, causing a scrum along the boards. In consequence, Jesson received a five minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct to find himself ejected from the game alongside Warrior Sample who also incurred 2+2 for fighting. Likewise, Whitley’s forward Ross Douglass, Tigers’ ‘D’ man Goodison, winger Warren Tait and surprisingly, injured party Ross were all dealt the same punishment of 2+2 for their part in the incident. This fight fuelling their offensive play, the Warriors snapped up an equaliser twelve seconds after Sample’s departure from the game as Campbell completed his hat trick following a superb pass from Zajac. Reluctant to head in at the break without a lead, Telford achieved their sixth goal in the last minute of the middle section, this time McKenzie finding himself two-on-one to take the puck around netminder Richie Lawson which he buried in the empty net.
Beginning the final stanza on the penalty kill due to a holding call against Watson at the death of the second period, Whitley prevented the home team from converting their power play but, just forty seconds after their return to full strength, the Warriors conceded a seventh as defenceman Nick Oliver restored his side’s two-goal cushion, Stokes teaming up with McKenzie once again. Just over two minutes later, the Warriors were further adrift when Silverthorn sealed his hat trick, Stokes again on hand to supply the puck. The score line 8-5, the Warriors pushed themselves to show that they were far from out of the game and it took just thirty six seconds after this goal for Good to beat Hovell as the cooperation between Campbell and Zajac paid off for a second time. Despite his excellent work though, Zajac was called to the sin bin for interference shortly afterwards to place the Tigers on a power play. Working rapidly to make the most of their advantage, Telford achieved a ninth goal on 47:03 when Silverthorn turned assist alongside Weaver to allow Goodison to print his name on the scoresheet. After pulling Lawson from his net to provide backup shot stopper Jordan Boyle with some valuable ice time, the Warriors found themselves trailing by four goals when seventeen-year-old forward Jed Moreland got in on the action. With close to half of the period played, Ross served a penalty of 2+10 for boarding as the defenceman sought reparation for the hit made against him earlier in the game. The score line 10-6, the Warriors knew it was a long way back and, whilst this did not stop the side from giving their best, their attempts proved to be in vain when McKenzie hit a one-timer into the top corner of Boyle’s net on 51:32. Try as they might, Whitley could not beat Hovell again and instead, the home team found time to notch a twelfth goal as forward Adam Taylor added to Whitley’s woes just nineteen seconds from the final buzzer.
Having faced three very tough encounters, the Warriors are yet to record a win but will set out in search of victory next Sunday when they face off against Solway Sharks on home ice at 5pm.
Shots on goal
Scott McKenzie (4+2), Jason Silverthorn (3+1), Corey Goodison (1+2), Andrew McKinney (1+2), Jed Moreland (1+0), Nick Oliver (1+0), Adam Taylor (1+0), Jordan Stokes (0+3), Jonathan Weaver (0+3), Daniel Rose (0+2), Joseph Aston (0+2), Jack Watkins (0+2), Rick Plant (0+1), Joseph Hazeldine (0+1), Warren Tait (0+1)
Ben Campbell (3+2), Sam Zajac (1+2), DJ Good (1+1), Shaun Kippin (1+0), Dean Holland (0+2), Liam Smedley (0+1),
Man of the Match
Tigers: Jordan Stokes
Warriors: Liam Smedley
Referee: Roy Hamilton
Linesman: Mariusz Kowal
Linesman: Nathan Carmichael