Bradford Bulldogs Ice Hockey Club has played a major part in the North’s success.
20 players from Bradford Bulldogs Ice Hockey Club represented the North of England in the 2016 EIHA inter conference tournament, which took place recently.
The tournament, which took place in Sheffield, saw the best players in the country from the North, South East, South West, Midlands and Scotland compete against each other to become EIHA Conference Champions, in this showcase event.
The North U11s beat Scotland and the U15s beat the Midlands to be crowned champions. The Under 13s reached the final.
As well as the Bradford players helping their teams achieve the North’s most successful year for some time, two players were selected for the All Star Team in the closing ceremony presentations. Jacob Lutwyche (U15s) was named as an All Star Forward while Lewis Baldwin (U17s) picked up the award as a defenceman.
In addition to these, twelve Bradford players were successful in being selected to their national team squads for the 2016/17 season, as well as two former Bradford players who were not playing in the tournament due to currently playing in North America. The Under 13 s team also won the Northern League for the second year running.
Bradford Bulldogs Ice Hockey Club is celebrating as its U13s team has won the league for the second year running and is now set to take on the best teams from the South for the chance to be crowned the English Ice Hockey Association’s National Champions.
The U13s team beat off strong competition from the ten teams which make up the top tier of junior ice hockey such as Sheffield, Nottingham, Coventry and Hull to become the Northern champions.
Bradford Bulldogs U15s Team will also be fighting for National Champion status as a League runner up.
Head Coach Andy Brown said ‘The Bulldogs have had another fantastic year and we are hoping that both teams successfully defend their title. I am very proud of all the players in the Club, who have trained hard all season to achieve their goals’.
The Club, which this season won the EIHA Development Award for the second year running and the Young Club/Team category in the Bradford Sports Awards, hopes the success of the teams will attract more children to play ice hockey. It is particularly looking for players for its Under 11s and Under 13s team.
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.