Warriors clinch a thrilling last gasp victory

Martin Crammond throwing his arms in the air to celebrate his match winning goal assisted by Harry Harley and Tom Ralph (14) in Whitley Warriors' win over CoventryBlaze. Photo by Colin Edwards
Martin Crammond throwing his arms in the air to celebrate his match winning goal assisted by Harry Harley and Tom Ralph (14) in Whitley Warriors' win over CoventryBlaze. Photo by Colin Edwards

WHITLEY Warriors were only in action once last weekend when they defeated Coventry Blaze on Sunday evening at Hillheads.

Warriors were without a number of first team players as Ali Brummitt, Simon Hehir, Liam McAllister and Jamie Tinsley were all unavailable for the clash.

But they were able to include senior goaltender Richie Lawson after the club’s leading netminder suffered no ill effects following his comeback game against the Sutton Sting last week.

Warriors got off to a great start when Mark Good put them in front after only nine minutes of action after some neat build up play from his brother DJ and line-mate Callum Watson.

The home side had the puck in the net once again moments later but it was ruled out as the Coventry goaltender was struck in the face prior to the puck crossing the line.

That disappointment did not affect Warriors’ play, though, as the Tynesiders increased their lead to 2-0 on 14 minutes when youngster Ben Richards scored a superb individual goal which saw him carry the puck from centre ice before passing a defender and back handing the puck into the net.

Coventry quickly battled back into the game and were level by the end of the opening period as Josh Nicklin and Rhys Gillat both netted for the visitors late on in the first period.

Blaze continued to cause problems for Whitley at the start of the second period and scored twice through Nicklin and Stephen Heape in the first three minutes to turn the game on its head.

Whitley struggled to get their offensive game going in the middle session, despite having several powerplay opportunities which resulted in Blaze holding a 4-2 lead going into the final period.

Warriors altered their lines a little going into the final session as they looked for a way back into the game.

They got a goal back after 48 minutes when captain DJ Good tapped home on the powerplay after nice work from Watson and Mark Good.

Shortly afterwards Coventry’s Jay McFadyen picked up a penalty for a check to the head, which resulted in a Whitley powerplay opportunity.

Warriors coach Dave Holland made the brave decision to pull his netminder so Whitley could skate six on four, and the tactic paid off handsomely as Warriors netted the equaliser through spare man Harry Harley.

Blaze continued to run into penalty trouble in the dying minutes and Martin Crammond popped up to net the game winning goal for Whitley on a powerplay with just a minute and a half remaining, to the delight of the vocal crowd who had got behind Warriors all evening.

After the game, DJ Good said: “We made it a tough game for ourselves, Coventry only had two lines but they made the most of it and they could have won.

“Young Ben scored a great goal, it was a classy finish.”

Warriors are in action twice this coming weekend as they make the long journey down to Shropshire on Saturday evening when they are set to take on the Telford Titans before a home game on Sunday night (5pm face-off) against the Sheffield Spartans.

Two positive results would see Warriors move even further away from the relegation play-off.