Dowd pleased with response

D J Good (left) nets the Warriors opener v Blackburn.
D J Good (left) nets the Warriors opener v Blackburn.

HAVING beaten Blackburn Hawks 5-2 away, the previous night, Whitley Warriors completed a quick double over the Lancashire outfit on Sunday evening.

But the Hillheads outfit suffered a blow before the second game when defender David Barrett was ruled out because of work commitments.

Whitley continued where they had left off the previous night – when they scored four unanswered goals in the final period – and were soon ahead when DJ Good lifted the puck high into the net at 5.40.

However, the visitors found a way back into the game when a long range effort from Chris Arnone found the back of the net on nine minutes to leave the sides all square at the end of the first period.

Then Blackburn stunned the home crowd by taking the lead through player/coach Jared Owen on 28 minutes.

But the Warriors were quick to reply and a burst of speed from 16-year-old Harry Harley saw him outstrip the visitors defence before playing the puck into the path of the on-rushing Dean Holland who had the simple task of scoring into an empty net.

That goal was timed at 32.25 and less than a minute later the home side were back in front as DJ Good scored his second.

Whitley dominated the final period but had only a powerplay strike from Callum Watson to show for their efforts when he deflected the puck past the Blackburn keeper at 50.22.

Having been disappointed with his side’s performance in both games the previous weekend, coach Garry Dowd was this time full of praise for the players’ efforts.

“We worked hard in training last week, changed a few things around and the lads have responded with two very good performances,” he said.

“Even though we trailed 2-1 at the end of the second period on Saturday, I always felt we were in control of the game and it would just be a matter of time before we made the most of the scoring opportunities that were coming our way.

“In the end we were comfortable winners, and after the disappointment of last week, it was good to see us get back to our best.”

And the coach felt it was a similar story Sunday night as his side consolidated second place in the English National League table with a victory he felt was more convincing than the 4-2 score line.

“As usual the Hawks made life difficult for the opposition, but even when they briefly took the lead in the middle period, we always had their measure and I was always confident that we would come through in the end,” he said.

Dowd was especially pleased with the Warriors’ second goal on Sunday.

“Young Harry Harley (16) played the perfect pass into the path of Dean Holland that left him with an empty net in which to score, and it was the kind of skill you don’t often find in someone so young,” he said.

“But both Harry and Christian Johnson have come into the side and made a big contribution in recent weeks; and they should only get better.”

At Blackburn the Hawks had led on a couple of powerplay goals with only a DJ Good strike as reply by Whitley, but a pair of Holland markers along with efforts from Callum Watson and Mark Good saw the visitors win.

Whitley have just one game this weekend when Telford Titans visit Hillheads looking to do better than the 4-1 defeat they suffered on their last visit.

Barrett should return and Dowd is hopeful that fellow defender Ally Brummitt will also be fit to resume after being out several weeks with a knee injury.

“He (Ally) is due to skate with us this week,” he said, “we’ll see how he goes, but hopefully we will have him back on the bench and be able to get him on the ice for a few shifts at least.”

Tickets for the Telford game are available on the night, priced at £7.50 for adults, under 16s and concessions £5.50, while a family ticket is available for £22.

The action gets under way at 5pm with the doors open 30 minutes before face-off.