Whitley Warriors accomplished a 6-0 win against local rivals Billingham Stars at Hillheads on Sunday evening.
Up against Billingham’s seventeen-man team, which included first choice netminder James Flavell, top points scorer Chris Sykes and young prospect Ethan Hehir, Whitley Warriors had a strong line-up at their disposal, the side missing only forwards Niall Ryder, Adam Perrie and Lawson Glasby.
With both teams fired up for this fixture, the game quickly became fiery as forward Shaun Kippin clashed with Latvian Kristers Bormanis in the opening minute of the first period before Sykes troubled shot stopper Jordan Boyle with a snappy attempt, the Warrior’s quick reactions preventing Billingham from snatching the lead. Remaining composed, Whitley progressed into their offensive zone to find the target when Alternate Captain Sam Zajac picked up DJ Good’s rebounded backhand shot to assist forward Callum Watson on 2:42. A breakaway for the Stars soon followed when Bormanis received the puck on the wing and fired at Boyle who saved, only for forward James Moss’ rapid response to come close to levelling the scoring seconds later. A neat interchange between Player-Coach David Longstaff and Kippin at the edge of Whitley’s offensive zone then allowed left winger Ben Campbell to slot his rebounded shot beneath Flavell to make it 2-0 on 6:15. An attempt from Captain Dean Holland almost added to Billingham’s deficit before a breakaway from Kyle Ross forced Flavell to pounce on the puck. Efforts from Sykes, Craig Thurston and Ethan Hehir at the other end of the ice lacked the execution required to beat Boyle but it was not long before Billingham gained an advantage when Whitley picked up a bench minor for too many men on 12:20. The Stars’ ineffective power play was followed by a ten-minute misconduct penalty for Teessider Cain Taylor but, seven seconds later, ‘D’ man Josh Maddock was sidelined for interference prior to a hooking penalty for Holland. Despite this, Whitley killed Billingham’s 5-on-3 power play to head in with their 2-0 lead intact at the first interval.
Emulating their start to the first period, the Warriors were quick to find the net on their return to the ice, this time Holland firing home on 22:22 after a swift attempt from Campbell fell to blue liner Harry Harley who assisted. Thirty eight seconds later, forward Ryan Sample’s hit on Ethan Hehir saw the Star slash the Warrior in retaliation, causing both players to pick up minor penalties for their actions. Though Sample’s return to the ice was short-lived as he tripped Bormanis shortly after exiting the sin bin, the Stars’ power play proved fruitless and the side soon conceded a fourth goal as Good bundled the puck past Flavell on 29:29 courtesy of Zajac. A second breakaway for Ross culminated in the forward striking the post before Sykes’ shot was tipped away by sturdy netminder Boyle at the other end of the ice. Whitley then saw numerous chances fall their way late in the period, including two long range efforts from Zajac which missed their mark to leave the score line at 4-0 at the end of the second stanza.
A clash between Watson and Stars’ forward Shaun Galloway at the start of the third period saw both players sinbinned thirty three seconds in. The Warriors continued to test Flavell but it was only on 47:21 that the home team made it 5-0 as Watson showed great puck control to claim his second of the evening. As the aftermath of this goal resulted in a heated exchange between Ross and forward Alex Preston, both players picked up roughing penalties whilst Preston received an additional ten-minute misconduct penalty. With the Stars still searching for a goal, Ethan Hehir fired at Boyle who remained composed. Shortly after his return to the ice, Ross ran into trouble again when he was handed a penalty of 2+10 for checking from behind. Still the Warriors dominated to find the back of the net approximately two minutes after returning to full strength, Watson lifting the puck into the top corner to complete his hat-trick on 54:30 after Good and Alternate Captain Jordan Barnes capitalised on an error from Flavell who failed to clear the puck from his zone. Fifty one seconds later, Latvian defenceman Rolands Gritāns battled with Sykes on the wing in his effort to create another opportunity for Whitley but the pair were punished for crosschecking and high sticks respectively. With the Stars unable to grab the consolatory goal they were seeking, the Warriors were overjoyed when the final buzzer called time on their 6-0 victory.
Shots on goal
Callum Watson (3+0), DJ Good (1+2), Ben Campbell (1+1), Dean Holland (1+0), Sam Zajac (0+2), Shaun Kippin (0+1), Harry Harley (0+1), David Longstaff (0+1)
Man of the Match
Warriors: Jordan Boyle
Stars: Ethan Hehir