Warriors beat Manchester Minotaurs but lose to Solway Sharks

Man of the match for Whitley Warriors against Manchester Minotaurs, netminder Mark Turnbull, saving a shot. Picture by Colin Edwards
Man of the match for Whitley Warriors against Manchester Minotaurs, netminder Mark Turnbull, saving a shot. Picture by Colin Edwards
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Whitley Warriors had two games last weekend as they travelled Manchester Minotaurs on Saturday evening before a home clash with Solway Sharks on Sunday.

Warriors welcomed Paul Matthews back into their line up as the veteran d-man has now fully recovered from an ankle injury, but they were missing Rob Wilson for both games as he was unavailable.

Whitley Warriors 'Dean Holland skating in front of the net in an attempt to deflect a shot watched by Adam Reynolds. Picture by Colin Edwards

Whitley Warriors 'Dean Holland skating in front of the net in an attempt to deflect a shot watched by Adam Reynolds. Picture by Colin Edwards

Warriors got the better of the Manchester Minotaurs 8-1 as Dean Holland netted a hat-trick with Dan Pye (2), DJ Good, Harry Harley and Adam Reynolds also on the scoresheet.

Goaltender Mark Turnbull was chosen as man of the match as the teenager saved 38 of the 39 shots that came his way in the contest.

The only negative point from the Minotaurs game was in-form Holland picked up a hand injury that kept him out of the following day’s match against Solway.

Warriors matched Solway for the majority of the opening period but the visitors held a slim advantage after 20 minutes thanks to import forward Pavol Melicherik, who was able to net a wraparound goal.

As the game progressed Warriors created several promising openings only for Solway to increase their lead when Struan Tonnar fired home after some nice work from Callum Henderson just after the half hour mark.

Whitley got a goal back though when the livewire Callum Watson burst forward to fire past Sharks keeper Gary Russell around two minutes later.

And they leveled it up on 52 minutes when Adam Reynolds found the back of the net after some nice work once again from Watson.

Whitley were then presented with a powerplay opportunity when Solway’s Rick Bentham was sent to the penalty box for high sticking.

They exerted pressure on the Sharks defence while they had the man advantage before the puck took a freak deflection off the linesman and fell onto the stick of Frazier Goldie who advanced into Warriors zone and fired a powerful shot past Turnbull to snatch a 3-2 for the visitors.

Warriors coach Simon Leach said: “We’ve played excellently against Solway and we’ve shown really good discipline out on the ice. We worked hard from start to finish, however, we just couldn’t make the chances we created count.

“I thought we did especially well in the last period of the game and created a lot of chances.

“Sometimes when you are battling at the bottom of the table it seems that the puck just doesn’t bounce for you.

“We can certainly be positive about how we have played of late and if we continue to play in the manner we have been we will give ourselves a good chance of doing well in the relegation play-off games when they come round in April.”

Whitley are next in action on Sunday in the Tyne Tees derby against Billingham Stars in a game that faces-off at 5pm at Hillheads.

Fans are being encouraged to attend in their vintage shirts as it is hoped the jerseys of many north east teams from recent eras will be worn by supporters at the match.