BRADFORD BULLDOGS head coach Andy Brown is looking for his players to set the record straight when they take on Telford Tigers across two days this weekend in the NIHL Two North Laidler Cup semi-finals.
The Bulldogs won through to the final four after finishing second in their group behind Hull Jets, who possibly have one foot in the final after beating Sutton Sting 6-4 in their first leg clash last Sunday.
Those two teams won’t complete their encounter until December 27 but Bradford can book their place in the final if they show the necessary improvements on their previous showing against the Tigers, which ended in a 5-1 defeat on home ice back in October.
Telford will probably go into the tie as favourites, however, currently sitting top of the NIHL North Two standings and having come through their Midlands Cup qualification stage as group winners with five wins from six.
But Bradford have shown at times this season that they can hold their own against the best, with head coach Brown hoping to see the kind of consistent performance which saw them overcome Hull Jets in convincing fashion last time out.
“In the league game against Telford, we never really got going but, to be fair, a large part of that was down to them and the way they forechecked and closed us down quickly in our own zone,” said Brown.
“But we have shown on enough occasions, the quality that we have in our line-up. It’s a semi-final, across two, successive nights, so anything can happen and it would be nice to cause a bit of and upset and make it through to the final.”
Under-16s hit hard by Storm in Altrincham
Last weekend there was only one Bulldogs’ fixture on the schedule, with the Under-16s heading over to Planet Ice Altrincham to take on Manchester Storm.
It proved to be a tough afternoon for the visitors, who were eventually out-gunned 9-2.
Storm did dominate all three periods but were made to work hard for their win by a dogged Bulldogs line-up, who looked like going into the first period break 2-0 down, only for the hosts to score a third right on the buzzer.
Bailey Yates and Connor Lee had already given Storm the lead before Jayson Burgess’s effort was adjudged to have crossed the line just before the buzzer sounded.
A second for Burgess and a strike from former Bulldogs’ junior Jordan O’Brien at 23.50 left the Bulldogs with a mountain to climb, but they gave themselves hope when neat hands and determination from defenceman Rhys Edwards saw him break through the Storm defences to make it 5-1 at 27.32.
Any hope of a comeback from coach Kirsten Deighton’s team quickly faded, however, when Manchester restored their five-goal lead just 19 seconds later, O’Brien then piling on the misery with his second of the game at 28.43.
McKenzie Barker made it 6-2 with a shot from the right circle which went through Jace Gledhill in the final minute of the second, but Storm were able to see out the game in the third with Yates firing twice more past Callum Preston to seal his hat-trick.
Bulldogs’ youngsters now take a break and will have an early chance to exact revenge on Storm when the two meet in Bradford on Saturday, January 8 (face-off 5.45pm).