Whitley Warriors put six past Solway Sharks to complete unbeaten home season

Whitley Warriors player-coach David Longstaff. Picture by Colin Lawson - IceHockeyMedia
Whitley Warriors player-coach David Longstaff. Picture by Colin Lawson - IceHockeyMedia

Whitley Warriors completed their home league campaign on Sunday and ended the season unbeaten at Hillheads.

David Longstaff’s side faced Solway Sharks and welcomed blue liner Harry Harley and forward Ben Richards back into their line-up, but they were without the services of the experienced duo of Andre Payette and Adam Reynolds.

Warriors had the better of the opening period and led 1-0 after 20 minutes thanks to a goal from Longstaff.

The home side ran into penalty trouble in the opening period when Josh Maddock was sent to the sin bin for 14 minutes for a spearing misdemeanour.

The middle session was full of goals as Longstaff made it 2-0 to the home side before Solway’s import forward Martin Cingel netted a in reply.

Harley then made it 3-1 with a sweetly taken goal on his return to the ice having missed the previous weekend’s game against Solihull Barons.

The ever-improving Kyle Ross then grabbed a superb wrap around effort to extend the lead before Joe Coulter grabbed a powerplay marker for the Scottish Borders side.

The final period saw Callum Watson and Ben Richards light the lamp for Warriors while Sharks captain Struan Tonnar was on target for the visitors, which saw the contest end as a 6-3 victory in Whitley’s favour.

The win meant Longstaff’s side ended the 2015-16 season on home ice with a superb record of 14 victories and two draws from their games at Hillheads.

Longstaff was selected as Warriors’ man of the match, but credit also went to youngster Ross, who put in another outstanding performance as he continues to establish himself in senior hockey at NIHL North level.

After the game, Jordan Barnes said: “I thought Ben Richards had a really strong game.

“The team got off to a little bit of a shaky start but we managed to gather ourselves during the middle period I also though Richie [Lawson] was a stand out player for us as he made some really important saves.

“Personally, my game was a little bit an up and down as I had a few chances but couldn’t find the net.

“However, I also tried to stick up for my team-mates as always, it’s nice to have an unbeaten record at home all season long, which sets us up nicely for the play-offs.”

Warriors are in action next weekend away from home in NIHL North Division 1 when they take on Solihull Barons on Sunday, March 13, in a fixture that gets under way at 6pm.

Warriors have no home games remaining this season, but they are in action close to home on Sunday, March 20, when they travel to Billingham Stars on Teesside.