WHITLEY Warriors lost out on home ice to Billingham Stars in the Northern Cup on Sunday night.
The 4-2 defeat at Hillheads followed an excellent 5-2 away win in the league at Sheffield Spartans on the Saturday night.
Warriors were on fire early on against Sheffield as they held a 3-0 lead by the end of the first session of play thanks to goals from player/coach Garry Dowd, youngster Martin Crammond and former Newcastle Vipers forward Dean Holland.
Holland then got his second of the contest in the middle period before Spartans pulled two goals back to bring them back into the game.
But Warriors captain DJ Good netted the only goal of the final period to seal a 5-2 victory for Whitley, who have now taken three points from their opening two league games of the 2012-13 campaign after the previous weekend’s away draw against Coventry Blaze.
On Sunday evening against Billingham, Warriors ran into penalty trouble early on as both Liam McAllister and Holland were penalised for minor infringements.
And the visitors took the lead with just a minute on the clock when Andy Finn netted.
Billingham then hit some penalty problemsof their own as Jamie Tinsley levelled the game up at 1-1 with a powerplay goal on ten minutes.
Tinsley iced on Warriors first forward line with Mark Good and DJ Good against Billingham while Holland, close season capture Alex Lawson and Callum Watson made up Whitley’s second offensive unit.
Former Billingham forward Alex Lawson then handed Whitley the advantage after some nice play between CalWatson and Allie Brummitt as the first period ended 2-1 in favour of the Warriors.
Whitley were able to kill off several minor penalties in the middle stanza, however, the Stars’ powerplay did produce the goods on 34 minutes when Adam Robinson netted the solitary strike of the session.
The game was poised at 2-2 after two periods of action, however, Billingham had the better of the final session of play as Robinson got his second strike of the evening with 46 minutes on the clock before their summer signing Michael Bowman wrapped up the scoring with nine minutes remaining.
Warriors did all they could to find a way back as Dowd called a time-out with five minutes to go in a bid to find the spark Whitley needed.
But it was not to be as Billingham was able to see out the game and take the victory from the first competitive Tyne/Tees derby of the season.
Despite the setback, Warriors forward Holland was in a positive frame of mind after the game.
“Every week we are improving, it’s great to see everyone playing well and we’ve just got to start capitalising on our chances,” he said.
New signing Paul Shanks will hopefully be available this weekend.
Shanks has ENL experience as he played for the Newcastle Vipers and he is expected to line up on the right wing for the Warriors.
Whitley’s next game sees the Warriors take on the Trafford Metros at Hillheads on Sunday (face off 5pm) in what will be the first home league game of the season as Whitley’s previous two home ties have been a challenge game and a Northern Cup contest.