Whitley Warriors started their busy weekend with a home game against the Deeside Dragons on Saturday evening before a tough away trip down to Telford the following day.
Warriors were missing several members of their squad for the match up against Deeside including import forward Phil Edgar and the dependable d man Josh Maddock. The strength of the Whitley squad meant they were still able to ice 3 forward lines and rotate 6 blue liners throughout the match up though.
Just 2 minutes into the game Jordan Barnes was able to open the scoring when he found the back of the net following some neat interplay between himself Shaun Kippin and David Longstaff. Niall Simpson went close to extending Warriors lead shortly afterwards however Oliver Johnson in the Dragons net made an excellent stop from point blank range to deny the young forward.
Deeside created many opportunities of their own in the opening period of play with winger Paul Davies and skipper James Parsons causing problems for the Whitley defence however Warriors netminder Richie Lawson was again at the top of his game as he was able to turn away all of their efforts. Whitley extended their advantage with only 34 seconds of the 1st stanza remaining through Ben Richards to lead 2-0 after the first 20 minutes of hockey.
Warriors were presented with their 1st powerplay opportunity of the game on 22 minutes and Whitley’s specialist team only took a matter of seconds to find the back of the net when Harry Harley found the back of the net with a sweet strike from just inside the blue line. Dean Holland and Jordan Barnes added further goals for Warriors which saw the scoreline stand at 5-0 at the half way point in the contest.
With Warriors into control of the game all of their roster received regular shifts. Will Robson and Stu Tomlinson saw ice time on the blue line while youngsters Jamie Ord and Ross Douglass got opportunities up front. Whitley grabbed another goal before the end of the 2nd when Jordan Barnes finished off a move involving Longstaff and Ben Richards to claim a well deserved hatrick.
Whitley took the decision to swap their goaltenders for the final period of play to give youngster Mark Turnbull some ice while player/coach David Longstaff reverted to a coaching role given the upper hand his side had. All of the youngsters in the Warriors line up gained valuable experience of operating on the penalty kill during the 3rd period which will no doubt help their hockey education going forward.
Dean Holland grabbed his 2nd goal of the game 4 minutes into the final session of play however Dragons then claimed their opening goal of the contest when Ross Kennedy managed to find a way past Turnbull in the Whitley net which rewarded Deeside for all of their effort out on the ice.
Warriors reshuffled lines continued to create openings though and Jordan Barnes grabbed his 4th goal of the game on 46 minutes, young forward Jamie Ord grabbed his first senior goal of the season just a minute later when he beat Deeside goalie Johnson and lit the lamp. Deeside skipper James Parsons then grabbed a consolation strike for his side which made the score 9-2 to the home side.
Ben Richards then thought he had netted for Warriors however the referee washed the goal out which appeared to be on the opinion of the goal judge who adjudged the puck had not crossed the line. Ben Richards was then sent to the sin bin by referee Miller for embellishment a penalty very rarely called however Warriors were not inconvenienced by being a man down as Shaun Kippin was able to grab a short handed goal. Whitley netted a late goal through Callum Watson which saw Warriors claim an eleven two success against a spirited but short benched Deeside outfit.
Warriors then faced the Telford Tigers on Sunday evening down in Shropshire. Whitley were able to name Josh Maddock back in their line up after he missed a number of recent games due to injury however Adam Finlinson was unfortunately unable to travel south with the Whitley squad.
Telford started the game on the front foot and led 3-0 by the end of the opening period of action thanks to goals from Daniel Rose, Jason Silverthorn and Joe Miller. Warriors continued to give their all however the powerful Tigers were able to skate into a 7-0 lead after 40 minutes of hockey.
Warriors opted to change their netminders after 2 periods of hockey which saw Mark Turnbull replacing Richie Lawson in goal. Turnbull put in a superb showing in the 3rd period as the youngster was able to save everyone of the 13 shots that came his way which earned him the Man of the Match accolade for an accomplished display.
Warriors are back in action next Sunday when the Sheffield Steeldogs travel up to the north east for the first time this season.