Whitley Warriors were in action twice last weekend, taking on the Manchester Minotaurs away from home on Saturday evening before facing the Telford Titans at Hillheads on Sunday night.
Warriors had a healthy roster available for the two games with the only players missing from the squad being youngster Daniel Anderson and recent signing Ryan Sample who is not yet match fit.
In the opening stages of Saturday’s game, Warriors struggled to contain Minotaurs import Lukas Zeman and by the 24th minute Manchester had established a 3-0 lead with the impressive Zeman grabbing an early hat-trick.
Whitley were creating openings, though, and after some intricate build up play by Callum Watson and Mark Good, Warriors captain DJ Good finished off a superb move.
DJ Good was on target again just five minutes later when he found the back of the net with a powerplay marker after more good work from his brother Mark and line mate Watson.
Manchester were rattled and when Adam Reynolds broke away to tie the game up a 3-3, Minotaurs tried to halt Warriors offensive efforts by calling a time out.
Whitley were not affected by the break in play and Watson made it 4-3 to Warriors with 36 minutes on the clock, which saw Minotaurs opt to replace netminder Paul Maudsley with back up goaltender Nicole Jackson.
The final session saw Whitley extend their lead on 47 minutes when Jordan Barnes netted his first goal of the season.
Manchester had the opportunity to reduce the deficit four minutes later when Tomas Hnilica was awarded a penalty shot, however, the youngster was unable to get his shot away when he went up against Warriors netminder Richie Lawson.
Going into the final 90 seconds of the game Whitley held a 5-3 lead, however, Minotaurs were then awarded another penalty shot which Zeman duly converted to the delight of the home fans.
Following the penalty shot Warriors were still on the penalty kill, due to a delay the game call on Rob Wilson, and Minotaurs opted to pull their netminder with around a minute of the game remaining so they could go on a six on four powerplay, which was a hugely profitable tactic as Sean Day fired home to tie up the game at 59.21.
Warriors Jamie Tinsley was chosen as Whitley man of the match with replacement netminder Nicole Jackson being named Manchester’s most impressive player.
Following Saturday’s end to end game against Manchester, Warriors head Coach Simon Leach chose to change his squad around a little for the game against strugglers Telford.
Goaltending duties were shared by youngsters Joe Harley and Mark Turnbull while the other younger members of Whitley’s squad were also given significant ice time.
Whitley started the game positively and held a 3-0 lead after three minutes thanks to goals from Mark Good, DJ Good and Daniel Murdy.
Telford managed to then regroup and restrict Warriors’ goalscoring opportunities until the 11th minute when Tinsley netted a short handed marker.
Telford continued to stifle Whitley in the opening stages of the middle session until a powerplay opportunity saw Murdy fire home Warriors’ fifth goal of the game after 29 minutes.
Warriors made it 6-0 only two minutes later when DJ Good found the back of the net.
Titans got on the scoresheet on 32 minutes when youngster Paul Rigby lit the lamp following some neat play from team-mate Matthew Price.
Whitley went on to net another two goals by the end of the second period through Jordan Barnes and Callum Watson, which saw them hold a commanding 8-1 lead after 40 minutes.
The third period saw Warriors over-run a tiring Titans line-up as they netted a further five goals through DJ Good, Karl Culley, Mark Good and a Ben Richards double which saw the game end 13-1 in Whitley’s favour.
DJ Good was chosen as Warriors best player on the night for his superb 4 (3+1) point haul.
Warriors Coach Simon Leach said: “On Saturday night we were not ready to play from the start of the game, we went 2-0 down in the first and we didn’t really get going.
“We then went 3-0 down but showed excellent character to come back and hit five unanswered goals to lead 5-3.
“We let ourselves down late on by taking penalties and giving the penalty shot away, we’ve talked about that and we know we need to cut out the mistakes and stop taking the penalties we have been.
“The Telford game was an opportunity to give some of the younger guys some valuable ice time.
“We played four lines all night and gave the kids opportunities on the penalty kill and powerplay as well.
“Telford never gave up and they kept fighting till the end, but we’ve just got to come out and play as we are supposed to.
“We’ve got a break again now as we’ve no games next weekend, which isn’t ideal, but at least it gives Ryan Sample a chance of being fit for our next match up.”
Warriors’ next fixture is an NIHL North Moralee Conference match-up against the Sutton Sting at Hillheads on October 20 (face off 5pm) in what should be a great contest between two of the top sides in NIHL North.