Sheffield Senators faced a tough test in Solihull against the unbeaten Barons and despite losing 7-2 put up a creditable performance to make their opponents work hard for their win.
Initially it was pretty even in the opening stages of the game but Barons stole the lead with a scrappy goal when their persistence paid off to force the puck home through Josh Bruce on 5.13. Solihull gained the upper hand to go two up with a good goal from Joe Henry timed 11.36. Shortly after that we were all subject to a long delay due to a fault with the lighting with play eventually continuing with the problem unresolved. Solihull took control of the game after the restart to score two quick goals, the first from Richard Slater on 13.46 followed by Josh Bruce’s second timed 15.04 to put Barons in front 4-0. It was a little harsh on Senators who continued to battle away to finish the period strongly against a Barons team that looked in control for large parts of the period.
Despite a lively start to the period, Senators found themselves 5-0 early on to a Tomas Janak goal on 22.21 but this seemed to inspire Sens more than Barons who came under quite a bit of pressure from a Senators team that were playing some good hockey. However, Barons showed their class when they worked to turn over possession and create a chance on the penalty kill which was put away nicely by Josh Bruce for his hat-trick on 30.33. Senators didn’t give up and it took another good move to set up Andrew Whitehouse to make it 7-0 on 33.24. Undeterred Senators continued to heap pressure on Solihull’s goal and their efforts were justly rewarded when Tom Humphries popped his effort into the back of the net at 34.13. A well worked powerplay goal assisted Sergevs Jegorovs. Barons looked to hit on the counter but a well organised Sens defence backed up by Bob Browne snubbed out any threat as Senators continued to pressurise Solihull and it paid off on 38.54; Callum Rawson taking his chance well after being teed up by Mikey Mawer. Sens almost pulled another back but Barons netminder got enough on it to take the sting out of the shot to see the puck drop dead just a couple of inches from the goal line. Senators finished the period the stronger team and the silence from the crowd as the teams left the ice spoke volumes.
Although the final period was goalless it was still action packed with Senators arguably the better team who were making Solihull work very hard and pushed them all the way and at times frustrated their opponents in what was a good physical game of hockey. It got a bit heated to see Joel Aheran & Josh Bruce exchange blows followed shortly afterwards by Cam King & David Rogers. Things looked like they may have spilled over even more when a Solihull player was cross-checked from behind but thankfully hockey broke out with both teams trying to add to their tally but unable to do so to see the game finish…Solihull Barons 7 Senators 2.
Solihull maintain their unbeaten record to sit at the top of the table but they were given a game & made to work hard for their points against a spirited Senators team that worked their socks off to play some good hockey against a very good team. They did deserve to win in that they created some good chances and put them away to take control of the game, from which they went on to see it out to claim the win; however Senators deserve praise and credit for their performance, one that rightly gives them hope & optimism for the weeks ahead.
Report by Phil Holden
Photo by Keith & Jenny Davies: Joe Henry celebrates a Barons goal