WARRIORS were in action just the once last weekend when Whitley took on their local rivals the Billingham Stars in the final Tyne Tees derby of the 2012/13 campaign. Warriors went into the game full of confidence as they had won their last four games on home ice.
Whitley were able to ice an extremely strong roster as senior netminder Richie Lawson was available to play in goal while the only significant absentee of the remainder of Warriors squad was the experienced blue liner Simon Hehir who is out for the remainder of the season due to a serious leg injury he suffered in last Sunday’s victory over the Sheffield Spartans.
The game got off to a pulsating start as both sides traded chances in the opening minutes of the contest. Minor penalties were called on both teams but neither side could capitalise when they held the man advantage. Stars got the opening goal of the game on 14 minutes though when ex Warrior Paul Windridge fired home to send the travelling Stars fans into raptures.
Warriors continued to battle away in the second session of play however Billingham netminder Mark Watson was in great form and the young goalie pulled off some superb stops to maintain his side’s lead. Whitley’s Phil Pritchard picked up a minor penalty for holding after 28 minutes and Billingham took full advantage as James Moss fired home a powerplay goal.
Warriors continued to run into penalty trouble and when Callum Pattison received two minutes in the sin bin for interference Stars netted their second powerplay goal of the evening through Michael Bowman. Billingham continued to create offense and the Stars made it 4-0 just before the end of the middle period when Callum Davies lit the lamp after some nice work from his linemate Michael Elder.
Whitley changed things round a little in the third period with some line alterations. Warriors skipper DJ Good netted a consolation goal for the home side after 52 minutes when he found the back of the net at the far post after a dangerous centre from Callum Watson.
Both sides continued to create opportunities in the latter stages of the game however neither side managed to trouble the scorers which saw Billingham record a 4-1 victory. Warriors combative defenceman Ali Brummitt was selected as Whitley’s best player on the night while Stars Australian import forward David Manning was chosen as Billingham’s top performer on the evening.
Whitley coach Dave Holland spoke about how he saw the game, “It’s a very disappointing result, we did put the effort in but if we get beat on the one on one’s like we did they are going to take the game.
“I thought Richie Lawson made some good stops, he faced 65 shots. He shouldn’t be facing that number of shots, we should be cutting that down.
“Simon Hehir was a massive miss tonight, he’s a good solid D man you know what you’re going to get from him and you know what he’s going to produce and that’s all you want from a player.”
Warriors will be hoping to get back to winning ways next weekend when they take on the Sutton Sting at home this coming Sunday evening (5pm face off) in what should be an end to end affair between two of the in form teams in NIHL North division one at this moment in time.