Whitley Warriors achieved a 4-0 win against Nottingham Lions at the National Ice Centre on Sunday evening.
After alternate captain Sam Zajac’s shot from the point failed to make its mark early in the first period, captain Dean Holland’s struggle to slot home saw Nottingham’s defenceman Tyler Poole burst forward to trouble Whitley’s starting shot stopper Jordan Boyle.
Left winger Ben Campbell then picked out forward Shaun Kippin who prompted a double save from netminder Miles Finney.
After the Lions saw off another of Campbell’s shots, the side had several chances but struggled to execute; forward Jack Crowston raced up the ice on the breakaway without success, defenceman Callum Medcalf left Boyle scrambling for the puck and Joseph Gretton hit the netminder’s blocker.
Meanwhile, Niall Ryder striking the post was the closest that Whitley went to breaking the deadlock before the first interval.
As the second stanza unfolded, Whitley cycled the puck which resulted in shots from Kippin and Latvian defenceman Rolands Gritāns. The Warriors’ efforts soon paid off when Campbell lifted a cross-crease pass over Finney’s glove to make it 1-0 on 24:19.
A slashing penalty for Kippin gave the Lions an advantage but it was not long after that Medcalf was punished for high sticks to see each team reduced to four men. Moments after Kippin’s return, Nottingham hit the post on the penalty kill and almost equalised again when Crowston went one-on-one with Boyle and Whitley headed in at the break with their 1-0 lead intact.
In the opening moments of the third period, a shot from Zajac resulted in frantic action from both teams and Finney’s net was pushed off its moorings. In the confusion, Campbell slipped the puck home to snatch his second goal of the evening on 45:10.
A holding call for ‘D’ man Martin Crammond then placed the Warriors on the penalty kill but the side came close to scoring a third goal when blue liner Harry Harley’s shot rebounded off the post following Finney’s save.
A tripping call against forward Bailey Challans then presented Campbell with his hat-trick as the winger slotted through the five-hole on 50:42.
After calling a timeout, the Lions were reduced to four men again as Poole incurred a hooking penalty which was killed by Nottingham. Shortly afterwards, the side gained a power play of their own as Campbell was sinbinned for the same offence on 55:57.
Medcalf incurred a holding penalty in the final minute to hand Whitley a 5-on-3 power play and Harley made it 4-0 with just 32 seconds remaining to wrap up the victory.