Whitley Warriors played their second challenge game of the 2014-15 season on Sunday evening when the Aberdeen Lynx travelled down to Tyneside for the first ever match up between the two sides.
Warriors were without experienced forward DJ Good who injured his hand against the Kirkcaldy Kestrels the previous weekend while senior netminder Richie Lawson was unavailable.
In the opening exchanges of the contest Whitley captain Jamie Tinsley was given a two-minute penalty for hooking and Aberdeen made the most of their man advantage when ex-Warrior Christian Johnson fired home the game’s opening goal just two minutes in.
But it did not take long for Warriors to tie the game up though as just four minutes later summer signing Dean Holland fired past Aberdeen goalie Theo Kynoch with a powerful slap shot.
As the period progressed Whitley continued to create offensive opportunities. Youngster Kyle Hindmarsh-Ross shot Warriors into the lead after 14 minutes and then two minutes later Harry Harley grabbed a powerplay marker which saw Simon Leach’s side lead 3-1 after the opening 20 minutes of action.
Warriors continued to trouble the Lynx defence in the middle stanza and Daniel Murdy extended Whitley’s lead just two minutes in when he found the back of the net from close range.
Alex Lawson then grabbed Warriors fifth six minutes later when he netted after some pleasing build-up play from young winger Ben Richards.
Shortly afterwards Lynx opted to change their netminder with Craig Chalmers taking the place of the overworked Kynoch.
Whitley forward Holland was given two minutes in the sin bin for boarding midway through the middle period, resulting in a Lynx powerplay.
However, Warriors were able to breakaway on the shorthand thanks to smart play from Rob Wilson and Paul Matthews and last season’s top scorer Adam Reynolds fired past Aberdeen replacement goalie Chalmers to make it 6-1 in Whitley’s favour.
After 35 minutes Warriors’ Jordan Barnes and Aberdeen’s Steven McGowan exchanged blows which saw both given four minutes in roughing penalties by referee Steve Brown.
At the end of the second period Whitley also chose to change their goaltender with Jordan Boyle taking the place of Mark Turnbull as Warriors’ last line of defence.
Boyle was unable to prevent Aberdeen from pulling a goal back when Jonathan Hogan lit the lamp on a Lynx powerplay early in the third session.
The last goal of the game came on 42 minutes when Jordan Barnes smartly found the back of the net from a tight angle after young ‘d’ man Liam Smedley had fed the puck into Warriors power forward.
Whitley coach Simon Leach said: “There were some positives and some negatives but it is only our second game of the season and our young line of Queenan, Ross and Richards were probably our stand out line this evening.
“We’ve played with four lines throughout the game and gave everyone their chance to play and stake a claim for ice time when action gets under way for real in the league.
“DJ Good missed the game as he hurt his hand in our last game and we thought it was better to give him the night off rather than risk him getting a slash on his hand in an exhibition game.”
Whitley’s next fixture is an away trip to Blackburn on September 14, which is Warriors’ first competitive game of the campaign in NIHL North action.
The next scheduled home game is currently on Sunday, September 28, when Sutton Sting will travel north to Hillheads for a NIHL North league game, which will face-off at 5pm.