SIHA senior teams both enjoyed success on the road this weekend in what were on paper, tricky games, but ones in that they both put in an awesome performance to secure valuable wins.
Sheffield Senators travelled to Telford to face the Tigers and included new signing Alex Jones in their line up as well as Joe Colton making his senior hockey debut with Matt Croyle in goal in the absence of regular netminders Mark Hartley & Bob Browne. These players did themselves justice as did the whole team to claim an important and deserved 4-2 win. Neither team could quite swing the balance of play their way until Sens scored on 16.42 on the powerplay through Tom Humphries. Into the second and a positive start from Senators saw their efforts yield another goal when Joel Aheran fired in to make it 2-0 on 22.55. Telford are clearly a talented team and were making Sens work hard, even more so when they scored two great goals to pull it back to 2-2 through Sean Weeks & Bradley Betteridge. Senators still seemed comfortable and largely in control at times but Telford were always a threat which set things up nicely for the final period with the score at 2-2. The final period opened with both teams looking to attack but Sens seemed to settle a bit quicker to take more of a control of things but as before they had to be on their game to keep Telford out but two nice goals from Tom Humphries to see him claim his hat-trick enabled Sens to see the game out to claim two great points with Matt Croyle getting the nod for Senators Man of the Match for his performance between the pipes.
Sheffield Spartans put in a great team performance to seal a memorable win up in Whitley Bay, one which sealed the head to head series against Warriors. Spartans were more than worthy 6-2 winners that now sees them undefeated in their last six league games.
Spartans were on fire in the first period to dominate proceedings and it’s arguable that the score could have been far greater than it was at 4-0 at the end of the first period with goals for Stuart Brittle, Ollie Barron, Nick Manning & Scott Morris.
Whitley, as expected came out fired up and their enthusiasm wasn’t dampened by Ollie Barron making it 5-0 to Spartans. Whitley’s persistence against an in form Brandon Stones in goal along with a well-drilled defence in front of him eventually paid off to see them pull two goals back through Adam Reynolds & Callum Queenan to give them hope in the final period.
Spartans showed character as they played sensible, disciplined and controlled hockey to both snub out Whitley as well as looking to increase their lead. They had the advantage of a good lead but they kept their heads to control the game to both frustrate and deny Warriors who simply couldn’t get back into the game. One which was rounded off with another well worked goal that took advantage of some slack defending whilst on the powerplay scored by Jonathan Kirk to seal a valuable 6-2 win against their play-off rivals
It was a very good performance by Spartans against awkward opponents who weren’t at their best but it has to be said that was down to how Spartans had played and they fully deserved their win in a game in which for large parts they were the much better team. Brandon Stones once again won the Man of the Match beers, one of many good performances on the night.
It was truly a great weekend for both Spartans & Senators in their pursuit of play-off & promotion success and although nothing is certain from these results, they may just well have a bearing on things in weeks to come and they are indeed a reflection of their potential which current form is confirming; as well as driving both teams forward in their pursuit of glory. They both face tricky fixtures again this weekend as Spartans entertain Billingham Stars at Ice Sheffield on Saturday, facing off at 2.15pm whilst Senators travel to face Coventry Blaze.
Report by Phil Holden