Whitley Warriors suffered a 9-2 loss to Sheffield Steeldogs at Hillheads on Sunday, writes Emma Hill.
The Steeldogs snatched the lead early in the first period when player-coach Ben Morgan pounced on Ashley Calvert’s rebounded shot to fire through on 1:22.
Striving to put shot stopper Dmitri Zimozdra to the test, the Warriors were exasperated when Sheffield doubled their lead on 7:28 as skilled forward Duncan Speirs found the target courtesy of youngster Alex Graham.
After Whitley’s fruitless power play, the Steeldogs remained clinical to make it 3-0 as forward Nathan Salem sliced the puck beneath netminder Jordan Boyle on 15:17, prompting shot stopper Mark Turnbull to take his place between the pipes.
The Warriors hit back on 17:52 when Harry Harley slipped the puck to DJ Good who unleashed a low shot from distance to beat Zimozdra. Whitley had a second power play but failed to have the desired impact in front of Zimozdra’s crowded net to leave Sheffield’s 3-1 lead intact.
After Sheffield re-established their three-goal cushion through Calvert on 25:08, the outfit suffered a setback when Morgan was sidelined for tripping, enabling Whitley to achieved their second goal shortly after Sheffield’s return to full strength as Campbell found the top right of Zimozdra’s net to make it 4-2 on 28:14.
With each side missing a skater, the Steeldogs added a fifth to their tally, this time forward Cameron Brownley shooting to the left of Turnbull from close range on 35:39.
Continuing to dominate in the latter stages of the period, Sheffield made it 6-2 as Graham tipped defenceman Thomas Barry’s blue line shot into the net in the final minute.
Allowing Boyle to replace Turnbull, Whitley set out to recover lost ground but instead Sheffield extended their lead as forward Andrew Hirst netted on 43:56.
Soon after, Watson engaged in a heated exchange with Kolena to see both players punished for delaying the game before Brownley joined his teammate after a holding offence against Ross on 47:52.
However, Whitley ran into some penalty trouble of their own in the 53rd minute when Good was sinbinned for slashing. Eight seconds later, Holland slashed Slovakian Adrian Palak across the arm to receive the same punishment, awarding the visitors a 5-on-3 power play in the process.
Unsurprisingly, the Steeldogs took just 53 seconds to capitalise as Palak sought retribution. Whitley were already resigned to their defeat when Speirs’ unassisted effort beat Boyle on 57:21 to complete Sheffield’s 9-2 victory.