Bulldogs battle hard but return with nothing from long road trip to Telford

HOPE: Josh Stockton gave the Bulldogs hope when his 41st-minute goal made it 4-2 at Telford. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.

BRADFORD BULLDOGS were left wondering what could have been after coming home from their long trip to Telford Tigers on the back of a 4-2 defeat in NIHL North Two.

The loss, coupled with a win for Altrincham Aces the following day, leaves the Bulldogs second-bottom in the standings but head coach Andy Brown believes there were plenty of positives to build on after their showdown in Shropshire.

“We couldn’t seem to get a break from the ref in the first two periods and I felt that on a number of occasions we should have been on the PP,” said Brown. 

“We battled hard though and kept the scoreline close. Sam Bolwell was great again between the pipes but took a shot to the head that saw her leave the game in the second period and have to get checked at hospital. 

“Phil Pearson came in and was equally as good, turning away every puck he faced. We won the last period 1-0 and we’re probably unlucky not to have got more.”

The Bulldogs got off to the worst start possible when falling behind to a strike from Filip Supa with just 42 seconds having elapsed.

FRUSTRATION: Bradford Bulldogs’ head coach, Andy Brown. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints

Fortunately, they soon hauled themselves level when Lucas Vince beat netminder Oliver Johnson after just 63 seconds.

Rhys Howells restored the hosts lead in the fifth minute and that is how it stayed until early in the second when Supa doubled his tally at 21.10.

A power play strike from Howells left the Bulldogs with a mountain to climb, a further blow coming when, just after the halfway mark, netminder Sam Bolwell was forced to leave the ice after being struck in the bead by the puck.

But back-up Phil Pearson stood tall, keeping his team in the game, with their hopes of a comeback boosted further when they made it 4-2 through Josh Stockton at 40.52.

But, despite out-shooting their hosts in the third, there was no further breakthrough leaving Brown an his players to switch their attentions to this Saturday’s encounter at home against Coventry (face-off 4.45pm).

Under-18s do the double over Whitley

On Sunday, the Under-18s stretched their unbeaten run to three games, recording their fifth win of the season with an 11-6 triumph at Whitley Bay.

The Bulldogs had enjoyed an 11-1 win over the same opponents on home ice three weeks earlier but found it much tougher on the north east coast.

It was 2-2 inside 10 minutes with Jack Wooding – at 6.52 on the power play – and captain Damarni James – at 9.32 – both finding ways to quickly respond to Whitley strikes.

The visitors were 4-2 ahead by the end of the first, though, Rhys Edwards and Mackenzie Barker both finding the net.

Whitley came back early in the second through Matthew Betham before James then struck twice within 19 seconds to complete his hat-trick at 24.21.

TREBLE HITTER: Captain Damarni James scored a hat-trick in the 11-6 win for the Under-18s at Whitley. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.

Again the hosts closed the gap, this time through Josh Hutton, who made it 6-4 at 25.39, but a dominant first half to the second period from the visitors decided the encounter.

Lucas Vince struck at 42.02 before Wooding matched James’s hat-trick exploits by scoring twice inside a minute.

A power play strike from Matthew Cross at 53.27 made it 9-4 and although Whitley hit back with two more goals of their own, Barker ensured the Bulldogs had the last word with his second of the game at 58.18.

A hit and a miss for Under-16s

There were mixed fortunes at the weekend flor our Under-16s, losing out 8-2 at Kingston Sharks on Saturday before returning to home ice for a mercy-rule 13-1 win over Billingham Stars.

In Hull, the Bulldogs were 3-0 down by the end of the first period, before hitting back to make it a one-goal game again, Mackenzie Barker scoring short-handed at 26.26 before Oliver Massey got on the board two minutes later.

But five goals in 10 minutes either side of the second intermission saw the game dragged away from the visitors, Hull’s Owen Bruton and Rocky Jenkinson restoring their team’s three-goal advantage before the break.

It was three goals inside the first minute of the third period, that really knocked the wind from the Bulldogs’ sails. Captain Kohen Taylor got the flurry of goals started just 12 seconds in before  Jack Hayward and Bruton – with his hat-trick strike – putting the game out of sight.

The encounter against visiting Billingham on Sunday was effectively over inside 10 minutes after which the Bulldogs were 9-0 ahead.

Danny Harrison made the breakthrough with just 65 seconds on the clock, with Oliver Massey (2), Tom Mardell, Miles Jones, Cian Sharrock (2), Daragh Spawforth and Frank O’Sullivan all joining him on the scoresheet.

Jones made it 10-0 at 10.10 before Liam Stephenson found a way through netminder Jacob Midgley to get the visitors on the board at 13.46.

But normal service was resumed early in the second period, Rhys Edwards making it 11-1 at 16.05 before Grace Cooper and Brett Harper got in on the act to effectively end the game as a contest.

Spawforth hits four as Under-14s keep top two hopes alive

The Bulldogs Under-14s were made to battle hard for their 8-5 win at Telford on Saturday, doing enough to earn a vital win that keeps their hopes of a top-two finish alive.

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC: Daragh Spawforth scored four goals in the Under-14s 8-5 win at Telford. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.

The visitors edged the first period 3-2 thanks to strikes from Daragh Spawforth (2) and William Durgan but found themselves level just 46 seconds into the break when Tyler Stanton struck for the hosts.

But four unanswered goals saw the Bulldogs establish control before the end of the second, Spawforth taking his tally to four, while Durgan doubled his own contribution before Frank O’Sullivan also got on the board.

Danny Harrison made it 8-3 at 32.05, although they couldn’t afford to relax with Lewis Ball – on the power play – and Archie Hollyhead both finding a way past Bulldogs’ netminder Jacob Midgley to ensure the hosts finished strongly by winning the final period.