ICE HOCKEY: WITH points becoming more and more precious as the league season draws to a close, Solihull Barons did their play-off hopes a boost with a convincing 12-7 victory over Whitley Warriors.
While high stakes games can often turn out to be cagey, conservative affairs, Sunday’s game in Solihull was a high-scoring and highly entertaining tie.
The opening period was played at a high pace with both sides trying to set out their stalls with a series of fast breakaways at both ends of the ice.
The scoring in the opening period was dominated by powerplay efforts with Andy Whitehouse opening the scoring for the home side after less than two minutes.
With ten minutes gone the Warriors gave away penalty from which Josh Bruce found the net to double the Baron’s lead.
A third goal came when Whitehouse netted for the second time in the 15th minutes with another powerplay goal before the Warriors had chances of their own.
The visitors had a one man advantage in the final two minutes and they make a breakthrough when Dean Holland found the back of the net.
The second period turned into something of a goal fest with each side adding a further four goals to their tally.
One of the biggest cheers of the night came when veteran Alan Yarrow got the puck just over the line, while for the Barons a pair of goals from Joe Henry was their highlight of the second period.
The first was a short-handed effort as Henry and Josh Bruce harried and fore checked the Warriors in their own end and led to the Barons’ fourth.
Henry also got the Barons’ final goal of the period with a sweet one-timer which rattled in off the post within seconds of him leaving the penalty box.
Rich Slater and Tom Soar also posted goals in the second period to give the Barons a two-goal advantage going into the final 20 minutes.
The scoring continued in the final period, with the Warrior’s Jordan Barnes cutting the Barons’ advantage to a single goal soon after the re-start.
A ‘5 on 3’ penalty in favour of the Barons eased the home support’s nerves and a resulting Matt Maurice goal restored the two-goal cushion.
The sides traded a further pair of goals to keep things tight as the clock clicked toward the final five minutes at which point a trio of Solihull goals thanks to Elliot Farrell, Tom Soar and Matt Maurice sealed the victory and brought home the points for the home side.
In a quirk of the scheduling system, the two sides will not have much longer to wait to meet up as the they will clash once more this Sunday at Silver Blades Solihull and the points on offer will be ever more precious to both sides as they aim to firm up their play-off credentials.