Whitley Warriors put nine past Manchester Minotaurs

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Whitley Warriors picked up their second win of the season on Sunday evening when they comprehensively beat the Manchester Minotaurs at Hillheads.

Young forwards Ben Richards and Callum Queenan were both passed fit to play after picking up knocks in Warriors’ last match, but veteran blue liner Paul Matthews missed the game through injury.

Once the action got under way Warriors’ captain Jamie Tinsley was penalised for cross-checking just 17 seconds in, which saw Manchester go on an early powerplay.

But Whitley were able to thwart Minotaurs’ special team.

As the game progressed Warriors began to put the Manchester defence under pressure and forward Dean Holland fired the home side into the lead after nine minutes of play with a powerful blast from just inside the blue line.

Tinsley made it 2-0 five minutes later when he fired past Minotaurs’ impressive netminder Arran Fox following some pleasing build-up play from Scott Cooper and Alex Lawson.

Manchester started the second period positively and after a scramble in front of the Warriors net, Oliver Payne lit the lamp from close range.

The visitors were then presented with another powerplay opportunity when Tinsley was sent to the sin bin for checking from behind, however, during their spell with the man advantage Manchester failed to generate many offensive opportunities and it was Warriors who grabbed the game’s next goal, a shorthanded effort from the in-form Harry Harley.

Whitley were on top of the Manchester defence and DJ Good fired home to make the scoreline 4-1 in Warriors’ favour just before the 30-minute mark.

The home side continued to create openings and Warriors extended their lead to 6-1 by the end of the middle period through strikes from youngsters Queenan and Liam Smedley.

For the final session, both sides opted to change their goaltenders, which saw Harley replace Mark Turnbull for Warriors while Harry Greaves took the place of Fox for the Minotaurs.

Greaves was soon picking the puck out of his own net, though, when Warriors young defenceman Craig Johnson slotted home his first ever NIHL North goal with a nice strike on the powerplay.

Warriors continued to press the Manchester defence throughout the period and they were rewarded for their endeavour late on when Daniel Harris and Ben Richards both the found the back of the net which saw Warriors claim a 9-1 victory over the side from the north west.

Harley, who picked up three points during the contest, was chosen as Whitley’s man of the match while James Soens was chosen as the Minotaurs’ top performer.

Manchester’s starting netminder Fox also impressed as he turned away 48 of the 54 shots he faced during his 40 minutes out on the ice.

Warriors coach Simon Leach said: “The youngsters were all excellent again, they are all getting plenty of ice time including time on our specialist teams, which is all good experience for them.

“Young Smedley and Johnson both got their first senior league goals tonight, and young Ben Richards has also scored again.

“I’ve always given young players the opportunity to play and the young lads are more than holding their own at the minute.

“We have a couple of weeks off now, which I guess will help us in a way as we can hopefully get some of our injured players back, however, the gap in fixtures also means we can’t generate any momentum going forward.”

Warriors are next in action over the weekend of November 8 and 9.

They travel to Manchester on Saturday the 8th in a NIHL North league fixture before facing Solway Sharks the following evening on home ice in Whitley Bay in a St Andrews Cup contest that will face-off at 5pm.