Whitley Warriors suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat on the road against Sheffield Spartans at the weekend.
Whitley were without Dean Holland, Alex Lawson and Callum Watson, but Scott Cooper, Josh Maddock and Kyle Ross all returned to the squad having missed Warriors’ last competitive match.
After a slight delay to the scheduled face-off, the action got under way and it was Sheffield who took an early advantage when skipper Ollie Barron fired home unassisted from close range just 89 seconds in.
Warriors were given a powerplay opportunity with four minutes on the clock when Sheffield’s Weeks was sent to the penalty box for boarding.
Whitley made the most of their man advantage as Jamie Tinsley levelled after being set up by player-coach David Longstaff and blue liner Harry Harley.
Both sides continued to create openings in the remainder of the opening period with the best chance falling to Warriors young forward Callum Queenan who forced Spartans netminder Andy Bagshaw into a fine save with under a minute remaining.
Sheffield regained the lead after 29 minutes when Scott Morris fired past netminder Richie Lawson after a spell of pressure on the Whitley defence.
Towards the end of the second period Queenan had to leave the ice after he received a heavy hit into the boards from Spartans’ Finks.
On the resulting powerplay Whitley went close to levelling the scores, but Bagshaw once again made an impressive stop.
The final period saw Warriors almost equalise from the opening face-off when Harley surged forward from his blue line berth and forced another fine save out of in-form Bagshaw.
Whitley spent a large portion of the third period in the Sheffield zone, however, they were unable to light the lamp despite pleasing play from Queenan, Liam Smedley and Shaun Kippin.
Warriors goaltender Lawson was named as Whitley’s man of the match for a fine display in between the posts as the experienced netminder saved 28 of the 30 shots that came his way during the contest.
Whitley are in action at home this weekend when they host Sheffield Senators at Hillheads on Sunday in a game that faces-off at 5pm.
Warriors will be looking to keep their unbeaten home record going against one of the division’s newest sides.