Warriors reach play-off semi’s

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Whitley Warriors progressed to a playoff semi-final against Hull Pirates after achieving a 10-9 quarter-final win against Solway Sharks over two legs, writes Emma Hill.

Taking a 6-1 lead into the second game, Whitley made a positive start by bouncing back from an early penalty kill to open the scoring through as Canadian Phil Edgar on 3:10.

Responding, forward Rick Bentham fired home an unassisted effort to equalise on 7:26.

Whilst working hard for possession in the corners, Captain Dean Holland struck Struan Tonnar’s discarded glove, incurring a misconduct penalty which Iain Bowie capitalised on to present his team with a 2-1 lead.

Whitley equalised just 41 seconds into the middle stanza when Jordan Barnes rocketed a shot into the bottom left of McLaughlin’s net.

Though unable to capitalise on successive power plays, Solway bagged a third goal when skilled forward Scott Henderson tapped in Bentham’s shot on 30:34.

After the Sharks lost Ross Murray to an ankle injury, Tanaka slotted home, making it for 4-2 on 31:09 to prompt a timeout from Whitley.

Remaining composed, Campbell went top shelf on 32:54 but the Sharks hit back 62 seconds later as forward Peter Gápa scored from the faceoff circle to Boyle’s left before Bowie drilled the puck low to make it 6-3 on 36:33.

Solway scored a seventh just 35 seconds into the final period, Gápa going it alone on this occasion.

Whitley scored a fourth goal when Tanaka was sinbinned for tripping; Longstaff wandering through Solway’s defence to tap the puck past McLaughlin on 53:50.

The Sharks answered again, as Bowie completed his hat-trick to make it 8-4 (10-9 on aggregate), but the Warriors held out for a place in the last four.