Warriors concede late Sting equaliser

Warriors applying late pressure on the Sutton Sting goal. Picture by Colin Edwards
Warriors applying late pressure on the Sutton Sting goal. Picture by Colin Edwards

Whitley Warriors travelled to Ice Sheffield with a strong roster of players for their NIHL North Moralee Conference game against Sutton Sting as the only senior player missing from their line-up was recent signing Ryan Sample.

Sutton had the better of the early chances but were unable to break the deadlock.

And it was Warriors who took the lead on 13 minutes when Adam Reynolds fired home a power play marker unassisted.

Sutton continued to create openings and Matt Jeffcock tied the game up when he lit the lamp after 15 minutes.

Warriors took a couple of minor penalties towards the end of the first period, however Whitley’s penalty killing unit were equal to everything that was thrown at them and the score was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes of hockey.

Warriors started the second period on the front foot and took the lead on 22 minutes when Callum Watson finished off a well worked move that the Good brothers Mark and DJ had both been highly influential in.

Sutton once again equalised quickly when a Chris Sykes shot beat Richie Lawson in the Warriors goal just three minutes later.

Whitley were playing some eye catching hockey during the middle session and they were rewarded for their positive play when Karl Culley fired home after being set up expertly by line-mate Adam Reynolds and the in-form Watson.

Warriors held a slender 3-2 lead going into the final 20 minutes of play but they extended their advantage on 46 minutes when alternate captain Jamie Tinsley netted his third goal of the season on the power play.

Sutton were looking a little suspect defensively and Warriors made it 5-2 shortly afterwards when Watson found the back of the net to the delight of the vocal contingent of travelling Warriors fans.

Sutton opted to switch their netminders after Whitley’s fifth goal, which saw the experienced Andy Bagshaw replacing the talented shot stopper Dmitri Zimzodra.

Sting continued to create opportunities and got themselves back into the game with two quick goals midway through the final period.

With just over four minutes left, Warriors’ Martin Crammond picked up a minor penalty for interference which gave Sting a late power play opportunity.

Whitley managed to kill off that penalty successfully, however, Sutton tied the game up with only 90 seconds left on the clock when a deflected Chris Colegate effort found the back of the net, which saw the game end all square at five goals apiece.

Warriors’ man of the match went to Watson, who picked up three (2+1) points during the game with Chris Colegate being chosen as the home side’s top performer.

Whitley assistant coach Dave Holland said: “For the majority of the game we controlled it, however, in the last ten minutes we let ourselves down with a few simple mistakes.

“I think Mark Good had a really good game tonight, and I’ve got to mention Jamie Tinsley as well as he’s always one of our top players.

“I was impressed by Sutton, they have a lot of talented offensive players who can hurt any team in this league.”

Warriors now sit second in the NIHL North Moralee Conference with only local rivals Billingham Stars ahead of them in the table.

Whitley are next in action this coming Sunday (face-off 5pm) when Manchester Minotaurs travel to Hillheads.