BRADFORD BULLDOGS’ coach Andy Brown said his team didn’t get what they deserved as they posted a split weekend in NIHL North Two.
The Bulldogs enjoyed a 7-4 win on home ice against Altrincham Aces on Saturday, but couldn’t replicate that success the following day on a rare two-game weekend when they lost out 6-3 at Sheffield Titans.
But Brown said that – based on his team’s two performances – the results should probably have been the other way around.
“We didn’t play great on Saturday and we were lucky to take the points,” he admitted. “Aces came out hard and maintained the pace throughout the game despite having less players than we did.
“Luckily, we took our chances when they were there and Sam Bolwell was great between the pipes again which was enough to get the win.
“In contrast I felt we played really well in Sheffield and were unlucky not to get anything from the game.
“We were missing five players from the previous day and were still without D-men Dean Boothroyd – our captain – and Chris Butler.
“Phil Pearson made some great saves for us but we weren’t clinical enough in front of Sheffield’s net and we paid the price for that in the end.”
The Bulldogs prevailed against the Aces largely due to them building a four-goal lead inside 22 minutes, Matt Viney getting the ball rolling at 9.57 before Damarni James and Matt Barlow got on the board before the first period ended.
Tomas Mitrik made it 4-0 at 21.17 but then Altrincham dragged themselves back into the game before the middle section was done, making it 4-3 through strikes from Sam Dunford, Dylan Harcourt and Andrew Hopkins.
Crucially, though, the Bulldogs were able to pull away again one second before the buzzer sounded through Josh Richardson’s power play marker.
Connor Medley made it 6-3 at 49.30 and although the Aces gave themselves a chance when Hopkins struck again at 53.25, Kacper Andrukianiec’s 58th-minute strike secured two points.
On Sunday at Ice Sheffield, the Bulldogs looked on for back-to-back wins as they headed towards the end of the second 2-1 ahead through first-period goals from David Williams and Andrukianiec.
But two goals in the space of a minute from William Newcombe – adding to his first period effort – and Tate Shudra saw momentum quickly swing the other way.
The Bulldogs levelled in the 43rd minute through the in-form Andrukianiec, but once the Titans edged ahead again through Michael Danecko at 45.46, there was no way back for the visitors, further goals coming for Sheffield from Joel Gavigan and William Jude Szollosy.
Under-16s fall at home to Coventry
Bulldogs Under-16s returned to action for the first time in almost two months when they hosted Coventry Blaze.
A slow start saw them 3-0 down inside 12 minutes through strikes from Coventry’s Ashton Rudkin, Aaron Larner and Jake Hayward.
Frank O’Sullivan pulled one back for the Bulldogs at 13.37 off a feed from Danny Harrison, although a shorthanded effort from Coventry’s Oliver Dixon restored their three-goal lead early in the second.
A second from O’Sullivan – this time on the power play and assisted by Daragh Spawforth and Rhys Edwards – made it 4-2 but the Bulldogs found themselves four adrift by the end of the second after Tyler Somerton and Rudkin, his second of the night, found a way past netminder Jacob Midgley.
A glimmer of hope arrived early in the third for the hosts when Spawforth, assisted by Tom Mardell, made it 6-3 but only 17 more seconds had elapsed before Coventry restored their four-goal cushion through a second goal from Somerton, a lead they retained until the final buzzer.