WHITLEY Warriors were only in action once last weekend as they travelled to Ice Sheffield on Sunday afternoon to take on Sutton Sting in an East/West Trophy encounter.
Both sides were already eliminated from the competition so the game was in essence a challenge match between two sides who harbour ambitions of making the end of season play-offs.
In defence Warriors were able to include veteran Simon Hehir and youngster Callum Clark after both missed out last Sunday against Billingham Stars.
With player/coach Garry Dowd still unavailable, Hehir’s presence added experience and know how to the blue line.
Liam McAllister was in goal for Warriors as the side’s other senior goaltender Richie Lawson is still out of action due to a hand injury. Youngster Joe Harley provided cover for McAllister.
Up front Whitley were still missing a number of forwards so a lot of the side’s offensive play came from centre DJ Good and winger Callum Watson.
The opening period was even and end to end with both sides creating opportunities.
Warriors hit the post on two occasions but it was Sutton who took the lead before the end of the period when Ryan Johnson fired home.
Craig Thurston increased Sting’s lead in the second session when he beat McAllister in the Warriors goal.
Sting had much more depth to their roster and this began to show during the final period as Whitley’s squad started to tire.
Sutton were able to add two further goals through Matt Jeffcock and Shaun Ashton to take a 4-0 lead.
Warriors just could not find a way past Sting netminder Dmitri Zimozdra, who put in an impressive display on his Sutton debut to record a shut out.
Zimozdra looks to be a superb signing for Sutton as the young goalie has spent the opening few months of the campaign icing in the English Premier League for the Sheffield Steeldogs.
After the game, Warriors captain DJ Good said: “We just ran out of steam towards the end, which we can’t let happen again.
“We are also not scoring goals at the minute, and some of that responsibility lies with myself, however, we will all be working hard during the week in training.
“We have got to have three lines and that’s what we will have out on the ice next week.
“I know that having three full lines is going to make a big difference so we are optimistic for next weekend.”
Whitley Warriors have a tough schedule to contend with this coming weekend as they face the top two teams in the division.
Whitley travel north of the border to face league leaders Solway Sharks on Saturday night before taking on local rivals Billingham Stars on Sunday evening, with a 5pm face-off at Hillheads.