After taking a point from Saturday’s 3-2 overtime road loss to Solway Sharks, Whitley Warriors achieved their first home victory of the season with a 3-1 win over Solihull Barons on Sunday.
Though working hard to place Barons’ shot stopper Sam Hewitt under pressure after faceoff, the Warriors suffered a setback when Canadian Phil Edgar was sinbinned for crosschecking on 2:40.
Whitley were just 18 seconds away from returning to full strength when Solihull made it 1-0; forward Matthew Maurice slotting the puck past netminder Richie Lawson on 4:22. The Warriors then went shorthanded again 67 seconds later when Player-Coach David Longstaff was sidelined for interference. Killing this penalty, Whitley were relentless in offence for the remainder of the period but, despite their best efforts, the Warriors could not find an equaliser ahead of the first interval.
A bench minor incurred by the Warriors 48 seconds into the middle stanza gave the Barons a power play but strong defending from Whitley ensured that Solihull’s advantage was fruitless.
The Warriors built momentum before gaining a power play when Smedley drew a hooking offence from versatile defenceman Dale White on 30:11. .
Defenceman Rolands Gritāns unleashed a low blue line shot into the bottom left of Hewitt’s net to make it 1-1 on 36:37 and the teams were still on level terms when the period ended.
With Maynard sidelined for unsportsmanlike conduct on 40:00, the Warriors made the most of their power play, scoring 33 seconds later when Zajac flicked the puck over Hewitt.
Player-Coach Brittle called a timeout on 49:53 but, with neither side altering the 2-1 score line, Hewitt made way for the additional skater in the final minutes. This allowed the Warriors to snatch an empty net goal with 16 seconds remaining as Ben Campbell fired home from the right wing courtesy of Zajac. Deflated, Player-Coach Brittle received a ten minute misconduct penalty on 60:00 to complete a difficult 3-1 loss for the Barons.