Whitley Warriors enjoy a four-point weekend

Joe Stamp, man of the match for Whitley Warriors against Sheffield Spartans. Picture by Ian Hanlon - IceHockeyMedia
Joe Stamp, man of the match for Whitley Warriors against Sheffield Spartans. Picture by Ian Hanlon - IceHockeyMedia

Whitley Warriors took to the ice twice at weekend and picked up wins against Solway Sharks and Sheffield Spartans.

On Saturday evening it was a trip to the Scottish Borders which resulted in a 2-1 win against the Sharks.

Player-coach David Longstaff and Adam Reynolds netted the Warriors goals against an in-from Solway side who had beaten the league leaders the Blackburn Hawks the previous weekend.

Then on Sunday, Spartans made the trip to Hillheads but were senty packing after a 3-1 home win, with all four goals coming in the first period.

Warriors started the game on the front foot as Longstaff fired home with under two minutes on the clock after some pleasing approach play from both Harry Harley and Dean Holland.

Whitley went on to create numerous chances in the opening stages and skipper Jamie Tinsley made it 2-0 after seven minutes with Jordan Barnes being credited with the assist.

Spartans did manage to get on the scoresheet themselves when Andrew Turner fired past Whitley netminder Richie Lawson from close range just 11 seconds after Warriors’ second goal to the delight of the away bench.

Whitley were able to restore their two-goal lead shortly afterwards, though, when d-man Joe Stamp grabbed his third of the season when his shot from distance deceived Sheffield goalie Brandon Stones.

Sheffield almost grabbed a goal back late in the first period when Martin Finkes’ effort crashed into the post.

Warriors ran into some penalty trouble during the remainder of the game, but their penalty killing unit was at the top of their game as they were able to thwart Spartans’ powerplay efforts and prevent the visitors from finding a way back into the contest.

Whitley netminder Richie Lawson made several smart stops to prevent the visitors from adding to their first period strike.

Blue liner Stamp was chosen as Warriors’ man of the match for a committed defensive display along with a goal while Spartans goaltender Brandon Stones was selected as the visitors’ top performer during the 60 minutes of action.

After the win over Sheffield, Whitley skipper Jamie Tinsley said: “Really good result for us, it’s good to see the young players stepping up and playing well.

“I thought Kyle [Ross] did really well, Craig [Johnson] came back into the line-up and had a good game.

“Craig’s very strong defensively and has a really good shot on him as well.

“We tried to find the right lines during the game and tried to adapt as the game went along, you’ve just got to see what’s working for you on the night and go from there.

“I thought our defence played well and it was a physical game as well, which is always good to be involved in.

“Dean [Holland] picked up a knock during Saturday’s game so he was rested at times against Sheffield, but he should be back to full fitness for next weekend when we have another two important games.

“I think Ben Richards and Phil Pritchard, who both missed tonight’s game, could well be available for next weekend’s match ups as well.”

On Saturday evening Whitley take on Sutton Sting at Ice Sheffield before a home fixture on Sunday with a 5pm face-off against local rivals Billingham Stars in the NIHL North Division 1.