Whitley Warriors made amends for Saturday’s 7-2 road defeat to Solway Sharks with a 7-4 home win over Sutton Sting on Sunday, writes Emma Hill.
With play even in the opening stages of the first period, the Warriors successfully killed an interference penalty incurred by Latvian defenceman Rolands Gritāns to enjoy a power play of their own when Sutton’s forward George Crawshaw sat out for delaying the game. Gaining sufficient momentum on the advantage, the Warriors achieved an even-handed goal soon after Crawshaw’s return to the ice when Sam Zajac rushed in on goal to slot home, courtesy of David Longstaff on 9:51.
The Sting equalised three minutes after this goal when Tyler Nixon’s shot flew over shot stopper Richie Lawson.
Five seconds later, Barnes’ slashing penalty placed Sutton on the power play and, although Whitley were on hand to ensure the Sting could not capitalise, Sutton gained a second consecutive advantage when forward Kyle Ross was sin-binned for misconduct.
The Warriors scored 42 seconds later as Campbell persevered to flick the puck past netminder Warren Gilfoyle to allow his team a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period.
After scoring 29 seconds into the middle stanza when Campbell’s shot flashed into the net, the Warriors achieved a power-play goal on 24:23 as Kippin curved the puck around Gilfoyle to present his team with a 4-1 lead.
Sutton battled back to find the target as forward Dominic Martin pocketed a shorthanded goal on 30:45. Sensing danger, the Warriors opted for a timeout but, just 37 seconds after play resumed, forward Callum Watson was punished for holding. Although unable to capitalise with the additional skater, Sutton’s creativity led to a goal soon after Watson’s return to the ice as alternate captain Craig Elliott beat Lawson to make it 4-3 before the break.
Though Sutton enjoyed a spell of possession early in the third period, Whitley were first to score in this stanza as blue liner Harry Harley buried the puck on the backhand within close range of Gilfoyle’s net on 45:07. Three minutes later, a misconduct penalty for captain Scott Morris saw Whitley hit home on the power play as Kippin made it 6-3 courtesy of Longstaff, who accomplished his sixth assist.
Determined, Sutton continued to test Whitley and Swedish defenceman Jonas Fredriksson soon reaped the rewards as he zipped a shot beyond Lawson from distance on 51:15.
While Sutton fought hard to chip away at their two-goal deficit, Whitley put the game beyond reach as Harley’s blue line shot left Gilfoyle with no chance of saving.
Picture by Colin Lawson.