Whitley Warriors achieved a 10-1 win over Nottingham Lions at the National Ice Centre on Sunday evening.
Missing several players from their line-up, including left winger Rob Farmer, youngster Connor Lewis, forward Adam Finlinson and utility players Adam Wood and Phil Edgar, Whitley Warriors made the trip with seventeen skaters and netminders Dean Bowater and Mark Turnbull. By comparison, Nottingham were just one player short of matching their visitors in number with top points scorer Louie Newell, stand-in Captain Thomas Dermott and starting netminder Luca Sheldon amongst those available to ice for the side.
As the first period got underway, the Warriors did not achieve the start they were hoping for when forward Callum Watson incurred a roughing penalty on 2:03 to hand the Lions a power play. Nottingham made the most of their advantage forty four seconds later, Swiss import Zachary Yokoyama receiving the puck from Dermott to play in eighteen-year-old Newell who coolly slotted home. It took the Warriors four minutes to hit back, defenceman Matty McDonald picking out Callum Queenan whose neat cross crease pass found Dean Holland to see the captain beat netminder Sheldon on 6:48. Slowly Whitley regained control of play to edge ahead of their opposition as Holland found himself in on the action again, this time working with defenceman Dylan Hehir to set up Latvian Rolands Gritāns who fired home glove side to make it 2-1 on 12:41. The Warriors maintained this pressure on Sheldon’s net and it paid off as Gritāns netted his second of the evening on 18:15 courtesy of Holland to present Whitley with a two-goal cushion ahead of the first interval.
Returning for the second period, Whitley looked to extend their lead and did so on 24:02 as forward Jamie Ord collected the puck from just inside of the blue line in Whitley’s offensive zone to strike a low shot past Sheldon, eighteen-year-old forward Thomas Fraser assisting. At the other end of the ice, forward Kieran Gibbs had a shot on Bowater’s net which was dealt with before the Warriors regained possession. Continuing to cause the Lions problems, Ord received a backhand pass from forward Shaun Kippin just over the blue line of Whitley’s defensive zone to break away and stun Sheldon with his shot, making it 5-1 on 28:29, forward Anthony Wetherell also assisting. Although this goal prompted a timeout from Nottingham, the Warriors added to their tally just nine seconds later as Wetherell won the faceoff, allowing defenceman Craig Johnson the opportunity to claim possession and skate the length of Nottingham’s defensive zone before rocketing the puck into the net for 6-1. A hooking penalty for defenceman Tyler Poole just past the midpoint of the game presented Whitley with a power play and the Warriors capitalised through Queenan who tipped in defenceman Steven Chalmers’ blue line shot on 32:21. A second power play soon followed with Poole at fault again and Gritāns calmly sealed his hat trick twelve seconds later after receiving the puck from Harley, the defenceman closing in on net to successfully get his shot away. It was then the turn of the Warriors to go shorthanded as utility player Kyle Ross was sidelined for crosschecking on 36:55. However, Nottingham could not reduce their deficit when operating with the additional skater and Ross made a triumphant return to the ice, jumping to pluck the puck out of the air before slotting his unassisted shot past Sheldon in the final minute of the period to make it 9-1 going into the last stage of the game.
The Lions replaced Sheldon with twenty-year-old netminder Matthew Lowden at the start of the third period and hoped to increase their foothold in the game but it was not to be as Queenan collected his second of the evening just thirty three seconds in, flicking the puck past Lowden who made the initial save, Chalmers and Holland assisting. A high sticks offence from Yokoyama awarded Whitley a power play on 45:58 and Harley tried his luck only to see his shot saved whilst Chalmers’ effort from the centre of the blue line went wide. After returning to full strength, Nottingham’s James Shaw countered for the home team but Bowater remained strong between the pipes to keep the score line at 10-1. The game all but won, the Warriors continued to enjoy much possession in the final stages, outshooting the Lions by 15 shots to 6 overall in this period, to take two points home from the contest.
Shots on goal
Louie Newell (1+0), Thomas Dermott (0+1)
Rolands Gritāns (3+0), Callum Queenan (2+1), Jamie Ord (2+0), Dean Holland (1+4), Craig Johnson (1+0), Kyle Ross (1+0), Shaun Kippin (0+2), Anthony Wetherell (0+2), Steven Chalmers (0+2), Matty McDonald (0+1), Thomas Fraser (0+1), Dylan Hehir (0+1), Harry Harley (0+1)
Man of the Match
Lions: Louie Newell
Warriors: Jamie Ord