Spirited Warriors endure a tough weekend on the road

Ben Richards and Martin Crammond trying to get the puck behind the Billingham Stars goal. Picture by Colin Edwards
Ben Richards and Martin Crammond trying to get the puck behind the Billingham Stars goal. Picture by Colin Edwards

Whitley Warriors took to the ice in two testing away games over the course of the last weekend.

And Simon Leach’s side came home empty handed after taking on Solway Sharks and Billingham Stars.

Warriors welcomed club captain Jamie Tinsley back, though the experienced trio of Richie Lawson, Paul Matthews and Jordan Barnes were all out through injury.

On Saturday night, Solway held a 3-0 lead by the 25th minute, but Warriors were creating chances and got on the scorehsheet as Alex Lawson and Harry Harley both found the back of the net before the end of the second period.

After 40 minutes Warriors were trailing 4-2, but they put the Sharks defence under pressure in the third period and out-shot the home side by 22-2, however both netted a goal each, Warriors skipper Tinsley getting his side’s score, as Solway skated to a 5-3 victory.

On Sunday evening Warriors made the short journey down the A19 to take on the Billingham Stars in a passionate local derby.

Both sides gave everything in the first period and after 20 minutes the scores were level at 1-1 with Dean Holland firing home for Whitley after Micky Elder had opened the scoring for the home side.

As the game progressed Stars went into a 2-1 lead when Paul Windridge netted a powerplay marker with 27 minutes on the clock after Warriors blue liner Rob Wilson had been penalised for a boarding infringement.

Warriors matched Stars for the majority of the middle session and went close to equalising through both Dean Holland and Ben Richards.

But Warriors then conceded three goals in a frantic three-minute spell at the start of the third period which saw Stars take a 5-1 lead.

Whitley pulled a goal back on 47 minutes when young forward Ben Richards fired home after some pleasing build-up play from line-mates Alex Lawson and Martin Crammond.

Billingham were able to add a late goal through Michael Bowman which saw the Stars claim a 6-2 victory.

Warriors’ impressive young netminder Mark Turnbull was chosen as their man of the match while James Flavell was chosen as Billingham’s top performer.

After the two fixtures, Warriors coach Leach said: “I can’t fault the guys’ workrate over the weekend, we did well against Solway and out-shot them, but we just couldn’t put our chances away and it cost us.

“For the first 40 minutes against Billingham I thought we were the better team and we worked very hard out there on the ice, however, a crazy five-minute spell at the start of the third period has cost us the game and the two points.

“I was very disappointed with that spell and it’s a real shame for the lads and the club as a whole.

“Next weekend we have another two games and we’ll be looking to finish the season positively and pick up as many points as possible.”

Warriors travel to Manchester on Saturday to take on the Minotaurs before a home clash with Solway Sharks on Sunday.