Whitley Warriors retain play-off sport after a win and a loss in weekend double header
Whitley Warriors remain in fourth place in NIHL North Division 1 after two away games over the weekend.
On Saturday they won 5-2 at Sutton Stong before going down 12-7 against Solihull Barons on Sunday evening.
They were able to take a strong squad to Sheffield on Saturday evening for their clash with Sutton and enjoyed a superb first period as they led 3-0 thanks to goals from Dean Holland, Callum Watson and Shaun Kippin.
The in-form Jordan Barnes increased the lead in the middle period when he fired home having been set up by player-coach David Longstaff.
Sutton rallied in the third period as talisman Lloyd Gibson grabbed two goals in a three-minute spell, but Warriors were able to grab a late empty net goal through Harry Harley and come away from the clash with a hugely important two points.
Longstaff picked up three assists while netminder Richie Lawson saved 92 per cent of the shots that came his way.
On Sunday evening Warriors headed down to the Midlands to take on fellow play-off hopefuls Solihull Barons.
Whitley were a short benched for this clash with several senior players including blue liners Dan Pye, Joe Stamp and Harley unable to make the journey.
Once the action got under way Barons had the better of the opening 20 minutes and led 3-1 with Dean Holland grabbing a powerplay strike for Warriors.
The second period saw the two sides evenly share eight goals between them. Warriors quickly grabbed the opening score of the session when Kippin fired home.
Their other goal scorers in the period were Alan Yarrow, Lawson Glasby and Watson. Yarrow’s strike was the power forward’s first goal of the campaign.
The final period saw the goals continue to flow with Barnes and Stu Tomlinson on target for Whitley, however, Solihull were also able to grab five goals in the last session which saw the scoreline finish 12-7 in the home side’s favour.
Warriors are fourth with 22 points from the 24 games played and they have a four-point lead over nearest challengers Sutton Sting in the battle for fourth place, the last championship play-off spot, however last season’s NIHL North champions Blackburn Hawks cannot be ruled out of contention either.
Warriors once again make the trip to Solihull at the weekend as they take on the Barons on Sunday evening in another crucial NIHL North Division 1 clash.