A very short handed U13s squad made the long journey to Coventry over the bank holiday weekend for one of the final games of the season. Due to some of the regular players being unavailable and the U11s having a home game, numbers were depleted and the game actually looked in doubt earlier in the week. Thanks to people rearranging other commitments, we managed to get a team together and the efforts everyone went to were much appreciated, Because to the numbers, each of the players knew they had to step up if we were to overcome the home side in what we knew would be a tough game and so were fired up to do their best.
The game started well and due to some excellent play, the Bulldogs soon took control. By the end of the first period the Bulldogs were leading by 4-0. Things settled down a little in the second, as the pace inevitably slackened off but the Bulldogs kept up the pressure and at the end of the second period they had extended their lead to 6-0.
Despite a lack of numbers, the Bulldogs controlled the game for large periods with the puck spending most of the time in their opponents half and, although Coventry put up their usual spirited and physical performance which eventually got them on the score sheet in the last minute of the game, the Bulldogs finished on top with the final score of 10-1, This was a spectacular effort considering we had such a short handed squad. Every member of the team can be justifiably proud of the way they all stepped up when the time came and each one of them demonstrated a true Bulldog spirit. This determination, combined with some skilled tactical plays and encouragement by coach Andy Brown saw the Bulldogs take the points in a memorable and hard earned victory.
The game was restarted from scratch after the original first period was refereed by coaches. At this point Bradford was leading 4-0. The restart was done with the agreement of both teams and on the instruction of the official referee, who arrived late due to personal circumstances.
After the restart, it appeared that Billingham had forgotten to read the script. Bradford scored the opening goal, however Billingham scored 3 quick goals in reply and celebrated loudly each time. In response, Bradford started to pull their socks up and soon put some points on the board. As usual, Alex Graham led the charge with some accurate finishing. The Bradford team outclassed Billingham in almost every area and only the desire of Bradford to play a very attacking style with the defence pushing up a high line allowed Billingham the occasional chance to counter attack, with some quick breakouts.
The Bradford players controlled the game in large sections of play with some great work from all the team, together with some slick passing and a good work rate to recover lost or missed passes. The players celebrated vocally with each goal, as this increased their goal difference over Nottingham in the title chase. Bradford continued to score regularly throughout the game and controlled the pace of the game, making it difficult for Billingham to even break out of its own defensive zone.
Unfortunately, Billingham pulled the team with just over 2 minutes to play after a heavy check from behind on one of their players. Our player was excluded for the challenge, which was the correct decision, but Billingham indicated that they no longer wished to continue, signalling the end of the game.
In summary, although the Billingham players put up a valiant effort and didn’t give up, Bradford dominated an ill tempered game, scoring 18 goals to 4. The early finish denied Bradford the chance to put what could potentially have been some more very important goals on the board in their chase for the title.
Alex Graham received Player of the Match for his tireless work rate.
Last year, the Coventry game was the closest of the season. The team came close to doing what no other team could, as they almost beat the mighty Bulldogs.
This game turned out to be a different proposition. Bradford came out strong in the first period, dominating the possession throughout and although we conceded penalty minutes, Bradford remained l the stronger team, even scoring short handed goals.
Coventry never really threatened to score in this period with the Bradford defensive line holding strong on the occasional breakout.
No 21 Alex Graham, with his clinical finishing and shots from impossible angles, left Coventry trailing at the end of the first period 8-0.
The second period started in much the same way as the first, ending with Bradford dominating possession and shots on goal and some good team work. The passing game looked good for Bradford, whilst Coventry must have felt like they were chasing ghosts, on occasions looking frustrated. At one point Bradford had players lining up to take shots with No 11 defence player, Alex Lutwyche, hitting his big blue line slap shots (hit and hopes) looking for his first goal of the season.
The period ended 16-0.
Achieving such a high score, however, seemed to be the undoing of Bradford for the final period, with players going for glory and playing more as individuals with the resulting passing rate significantly dropping. This allowed Coventry back into the game with 2 goals in the period and only 3 from Bradford. But in truth even with 3 on 5 for part of this period, Bradford still looked like the stronger team. The goals from Coventry had more to do with the Bradford defence pushing forward and being caught out of position.
Coventry put up a good effort but quite simply couldn’t deal with the sniper like accuracy of Alex Graham and the stronger Bradford team, both offensively and the excellent defence.
Final Score 19:2
On Sunday, the Bradford Bulldogs under 15’s travelled to Coventry with a longer bench of four lines, some of which were new additions to the team. What some would’ve thought to be a confident victory for the Bulldogs, soon became tough; Coventry gained an early first goal within the first five minutes of the first period. Jacob Lutwyche’s timely punctuality wasn’t just limited to arriving on time, but to taking actions at the right times, as he quickly led the Bulldogs to take back control and brought the game to 3-1 taking the upper hand. This forced pressure onto Coventry, who continues to show determination and scored seconds later. Bradford then speeded up the game and the puck was fired, bringing the first period score to 4-2.
With neither teams scoring, the second period was an even affair with some great defence and saves from both teams. Although, Coventry showed some penalty trouble during this period.
The final period saw Bradford take three more quick firing shots, securing the lead and made the score 7-2 to the Bulldogs. A goal from Coventry soon followed, but Bradford continued to take the lead, closing the game 10-3. This was a well deserved victory, allowing the Bulldogs to bring the points home. Most valuable player award went to Jacob Lutwyche, which was well deserved.
Fast paced game driven by high tempo rushes, good defensive play and mid
ice turnovers generating lots of opportunities for both teams. Bradford
broke open scoring early in the first period with 2 quick goals and two
back to back goals in the second on two man breakaways. Third period action
was fierce as both sides could not beat the goalies until the last 4 mins
of play when Bradford scored back to back goals. A great game where both
teams fought hard for every second of ice time and shot on net. Best
display of team play to date with 4 of the goals the result of smart
passing in front of the net that left the net minder little chance to stop
the relentless Bulldog attack. MVP Daniel Justovics.
The Bulldogs U12’s travelled to Nottingham to face a team who had only
conceded 3 goals in their first seven matches and so they were expecting a
tough game. Bradford started the game strongly against their hosts, but
despite this soon found themselves a goal down when Nottingham scored on a
counter attack. Bradford struck back soon afterwards to level the score and
then took the lead to finish the first period 2-1 up. The Bulldogs came out
strongly in the second period and added three more goals to lead Nottingham
by 5-2 at the end of the second. At the start of the third Bradford managed
to extend their lead to 7-3 but Nottingham managed to pull back two goals
in the final few minutes to make the final score 7-5 to the Bulldogs. MVP
for the Bulldogs was net minder Courtney Smith who pulled off some
spectacular saves that even had the home fans applauding. Overall it was a
brilliant performance from the Bulldogs squad who were missing some key
members due to the holidays.