Warriors made to work hard for win

Jordan Barnes scores the Warriors' fifth goal against Telford. Picture by Colin Edwards.
Jordan Barnes scores the Warriors' fifth goal against Telford. Picture by Colin Edwards.

WHITLEY Warriors were looking for their third win of the season over Telford when the Titans visited Hillheads.

But the home side suffered a blow during the warm-up when experienced forward Mark Good was hit in the mouth by an errant puck and needed hospital treatment.

That caused coach Garry Dowd to shuffle his lines, but it did not stop Whitley from taking the lead at 5.48 when visiting keeper Ben Hunt could only admire the shot from Dean Holland as it whistled past him.

However, despite having just nine skaters, the Titans put in a strong performance and managed to limit the Warriors to that single goal at the first interval.

There was little they could do at 21.55 though, when Holland fed former Vipers team-mate Jamie Tinsley and he lifted the puck high into the opposition net.

Telford then got a break when the home side failed to clear their lines, and when Ed Eaton found himself alone in front of goal he made no mistake to net their only marker in the 23rd minute.

Whitley continued to dominate but were being constantly thwarted by a combination of good defending and excellent netminding until Callum Watson grabbed their third with a little under three minutes of the period remaining.

The game followed a similar pattern in the final period, although home keeper Richie Lawson needed to be at his best on a couple of occasions to keep Telford out in one of their rare forays into the Whitley end of the ice.

Skipper Rob Wilson came up with a goal to extend the Warriors lead at 46.51 and that left Jordan Barnes to close out the scoring when he side-stepped the keeper with a little under three minutes remaining.

Having been taken to hospital, Mark Good was due to face surgery on Monday and coach Garry Dowd said after the game: “Everyone wishes him a speedy recovery and hope we can see him back on the ice sooner rather than later.”

As to the game, despite Telford arriving with just ten players, they played their hearts out and drew praise from Dowd.

“Everyone one of them gave 100 per cent,” he said, “and credit to them for pushing us all the way.

“I thought they would tire as the game progressed, but they didn’t and were also very disciplined in their approach.

“But it can sometimes be difficult to play against a team who give that kind of performance, and to be fair, we weren’t 100 per cent ourselves.

“I did keep changing the lines around to try and inject something a little different into our play, and to give some credit to our players as well they have gone out and got the job done, with the result we’ve picked up two more points.”

Two players who caught the coach’s eye were forwards Dean Holland and Christian Johnson, who ended up with 1+2 and 0+3 for their efforts.

“Christian – along with Harry Harley – has been getting plenty of ice time recently and you can see an improvement in their performance, he (Christian) had an excellent game tonight and his three assists were just reward for his effort.

“And I thought Dean had a great game too, he is an aggressive forward who brings Elite League quality to the team and always seems to achieve what he wants one way or another.”

The Warriors are at home again this Sunday when Nottingham Lions are the visitors.

Although Good is likely to be out for some time, Dowd expects to have Callum Pattison back in action this Sunday after he missed the Telford win with a hand injury, while defender Ally Brummitt is now back skating and could play.

Tickets for the Nottingham game are available on the night, priced at adults £7.50, under 16s and concessions £5.50, while a family ticket is £22.

The action starts at 5pm, with the doors open 4.30pm.