BRADFORD BULLDOGS couldn’t repeat their earlier triumph over Sheffield Titans in the NIHL North Two Cup when they were edged out 5-4 on Saturday.
It had been an equally tight affair between the two sides at Ice Sheffield last month when Josh Reynolds slotted home the match-winner in a shootout at Ice Sheffield.
And although there was no call for such a lottery second time around, there was again little to choose between the two sides.
The hosts were left all the more frustrated after heavily outshooting the visitors 58-33 and having taken a 2-0 lead through first period strikes from Josh Stockton and Kacper Andrukianiec, who celebrated his first senior goal with 17.17 on the clock.
The visitors were level after 40 minutes, however, Tate Shudra making it a one-goal game with a power play strike at 21.17 before Oliver Keeling levelled matters in the 35th minute.
It was Keeling with his second of the night that put the visitors ahead at 43.36, although Matt Barlow was able to drag the hosts level within three minutes.
But two strikes in just over two minutes by Sheffield’s Kieren Potts – the first finding its way past Phil Pearson at 47.39 – proved to be decisive.
Stockton’s second at 54.14 gave the Bulldogs hope but, despite having 28 shots on goal, they couldn’t find a way past Nick Winters again.
On Sunday, the Under-18s slipped to their first defeat of the season when they went down 7-1 at home to Coventry.
They fell behind early when Tyler Somerton fired past Gabe Loingard with just 2.29 on the clock, although they were soon level through captain Matthew Cross on the power play at 6.59.
Coventry dominated possession and chances – outshooting the Bulldogs 53-24 across the first 40 minutes – but only one more goal came, Somerton’s second 33.52 giving the visitors a slender lead going into the third.
Charles Coney made it 3-1 at 46.54 but the Bulldogs were still in with a shout until they conceded three goals in just over a minute.
William Easley got the ball rolling at 51.29 before further strikes from Ethan Wheeldon and Oliver Dixon put the game beyond doubt, Coney grabbing his second of the game to round off a convincing win.
The one highlight of the weekend for the Bulldogs came on the road, when the Under-12s enjoyed an 8-0 win at Whitley Bay.
Captain William Durgan broke the deadlock with only 69 seconds on the clock, with Nathan Mitchell doubling the visitors’ lead at 3.10.
Kieran Smith pounced at 4.23 to increase the lead, an advantage increased further just over two minutes later by Thomas Taylor.
Timur Sprogis made it 5-0 in the 12th minute, with Smith bagging his second of the game shortly after.
A second strike for Taylor came at 15.10 before Layden Fletcher-Robb rounded off the scoring for a comfortable win in the 19th minute.