Warriors on top after a win and a draw in weekend double header

Whitley Warriors netminder Richie Lawson makes a save in the game against Solihull Barons. Picture by IceHockeyMedia - Colin Lawson

Whitley Warriors netminder Richie Lawson makes a save in the game against Solihull Barons. Picture by IceHockeyMedia - Colin Lawson

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Whitley Warriors lead the NIHL North Division 1 after David Longstaff’s side were able to take three of the four points on offer at the weekend.

They travelled to Shropshire to face the Telford Tigers on Saturday evening before a home fixture against Solihull Barons on Sunday.

Whitley Warriors in action against Solihull Barons at Hillheads. Picture by IceHockeyMedia - Colin Lawson

Whitley Warriors in action against Solihull Barons at Hillheads. Picture by IceHockeyMedia - Colin Lawson

Warriors took a strong squad to Telford as the only senior player unavailable for was injured forward Dean Holland.

Warriors had an early five on three powerplay opportunity when Telford were penalised for two boarding misdemeanours in the first 30 seconds, however, they unable to make their numerical advantage count.

The visitors then fell behind two minutes later when James Smith fired home.

Tigers extended their lead seven minutes into the middle session when Smith was again on target after some pleasing build-up play from import Karol Jets and youngster Callum Bowley.

Warriors got themselves back into the game late in the period though when Harry Harley grabbed a short handed marker after being set up by power forward Jordan Barnes.

Whitley continued to create openings in the final period and import Andre Payette fired home a powerplay marker assisted by Shaun Kippin and Longstaff to tie the game up with 44 minutes on the clock.

Warriors were comfortably out-shooting Tigers in the final session and they took the lead with eight minutes remaining when DJ Good scored a well taken unassisted goal.

Telford called a time out with 70 seconds remaining, and the tactical reshuffle paid off as seconds later Smith found the back of the net to complete his hat-trick which saw the contest end level at three goals apiece.

On Sunday evening Warriors entertained Solihull Barons at Hillheads.

They went into the game without the versatile Alex Lawson as he had picked up a knee injury during Saturday’s game with the Tigers.

Warriors started on the front foot and four minutes in Josh Maddock lit the lamp with a sweet strike from just inside the blue line after a precise pass from DJ Good.

They almost extended their lead when youngster Ben Richards hit the bar from close range.

Solihull levelled towards the end of the first period when Thomas Soar found the corner of the net with a nicely taken finish after a defensive lapse from Warriors.

Shortly into the second period, Solihull went on the powerplay when Warriors blue liner Josh Maddock was penalised for interference. Barons almost made the most of their man advantage when Tomas Janak brought a superb save out of Richie Lawson.

Whitley took the lead on the half hour mark when the puck bounced kindly for Callum Watson and the speedy winger took it past Sam Hewitt in the Solihull goal.

Barons were still very much in the game though and Josh Bruce saw his shot come back off the crossbar.

Shortly into the final session Whitley were on the penalty kill when import Andre Payette was given two minutes for interference by referee Tony Boynton.

Warriors’ special team were able to kill off the penalty, though, and preserve their narrow lead and pick up two points with a 2-1 scoreline.

After the win over Solihill, Warriors assistant coach Dave Holland said: “It was an excellent result for us. For the majority of the game we played well, though we did have a few players who didn’t play to their full potential at times.

“It was our second game of the weekend after a long road trip, so to come away with the victory is really pleasing.

“In a 2-1 game we had to keep it tight, though, virtually all the players got some significant ice time.

“We were without Alex Lawson for the game as he picked up an injury during the Tigers game on Saturday evening and we obviously weren’t going to risk him.

“On Saturday night we did well against Telford as we came back from being 2-0 down to grab a 3-3 draw in a tough road game.

“Some of the Telford team play and train with the Tigers EPL set up when they can, which shows just how much quality they have in their line-up.”

Warriors are in action next weekend on Sunday evening when the Telford NIHL Tigers visit Tyneside for a NIHL North Division 1 match.

The game gets under way at 5pm with doors opening 30 minutes earlier.

Tickets are priced at £8.50 for adults and £6.50 for children while a family ticket (two adults and two children) is £24.