Bulldogs’ down Jets to secure semi-final spot

DOUBLE DELIGHT: Josh Stockton scored twice in Saturday’s 5-3 NIHL North Two Cup win over Hull Jets. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.

SAME opponents, different outcome. 

After feeling hard done to when losing 8-5 at Hull Jets seven days earlier, Bradford Bulldogs were able to exact some swift revenge when the two teams mets at Little Horton Lane on Saturday,

Back-stopped by the impressive Samantha Bolwell on her starting netminder debut, Andy Brown’s team ran out deserved 5-3 winners, ensuring their qualification for the knockout stages of the NIHL North Two Cup.

“We felt as a team we were unlucky not to take something from the game the previous week and knew we were capable of beating them on our smaller ice,” said head coach Brown. 

“I felt both teams played some excellent hockey and put on a real show for the fans. Ultimately, though, it came down to netminding and our new girl Sam was outstanding.”

It was certainly an explosive start to the game when Bradford found themselves 3-1 up inside five minutes, Josh Stockton getting the ball rolling with just 27 seconds on the clock. 

The Jets were level inside two minutes through Kieran Beach but only 36 further seconds had elapsed before the hosts’ restored their one-goal lead through Matt Viney at 2.28.

QUICKFIRE: Matt Viney struck early ion the 5-3 win over Hull Jets at Bradford on Saturday. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.

Josh Richardson then doubled the advantage at 4.03 and that is how it stayed until just 33 seconds into the second when the Jets made the most of a hooking call on Viney towards the end of the first by making it a one-goal game again through Dan Hackford’s power play strike.

A shorthanded marker at 26.15 from Josh Reynolds gave the hosts some breathing room, although the visitors refused to back down, making it 4-3 through Hackford’s second goal of the evening at 34.01.

Stockton doubled his tally just over four minutes into the third period to make it 5-3 to the home team and, even though Hull threw everything they had at their hosts, Bolwell stood tall, turning away 22 shots in the third from 54 in total to cap a fine display and secure second place in the group standings. 

Under-12s maintain unbeaten start to season

Earlier in the day, the Bulldogs’ Under-12s maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign with a comfortable 8-0 win at Widnes.

Kieran Smith opened the scoring for the visitors with just 23 seconds gone, before they pulled further away to lead 5-0 at the end of the first period through further strikes from Charlie Barker, Layden Fletcher-Robb, Thomas Taylor and Kyle Bower.

Captain William Durgan weighed in with two strikes less than one minute into the second period, with Bower ensuring a double for himself with the final goal before the mercy rule kicked in at 27.54.

DOUBLING UP: Captain Will Durgan scored twice in the Bulldogs’ Under-12s 8-0 win at Widnes. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.

Under-18s finding it tough going at the minute

Two down by the halfway point, Bulldogs’ Under-18s hit back impressively by the end of the second to leave themselves tied at 2-2 with visitors Manchester Storm on Sunday.

But two late goals for the visitors – one from Kai Hathaway the other from James Best – effectively took the game beyond the reach of the hosts. 

Jack Wooding offered brief hope with his own late strike at 59.38, but that itself was quickly cancelled out by former Bulldogs’ forward Jordan O’Brien, his marker securing Storm a 5-3 victory.

Earlier, Joseph Evans had opened the scoring for the visitors with the only goal of the first period at 14.22.

That lead doubled at 29.40 via Matthew Knott, but the Bulldogs responded well, captain Matthew Cross halving the deficit less than a minute later before Brett Harper levelled for the hosts with his first-ever 18s goal at 34.27.