With Bradford U12’s and U16’s teams having already taken two points off Manchester and Hull the day before, the U14’s were under pressure to perform against a team who had won all previous games prior to losing by one goal to top of the league Sheffield.
The warm up commenced with Bradford icing 11 players against the home team’s 17. The Bradford coaches appeared more vocal with instructions and guidance for drills which increased the intensity of work rate right from the start of this fixture.
The first period was frantic with the home side dominating the play but at 9:12 Brown managed a breakaway assisted by Heywood and Bradford took the lead. A few minutes later, Griffin cleared the puck in the Bradford zone and Lutwyche with the second assist gave Brown his second goal at 11:49. Bradford’s work rate was exceptional in this period driven by the Brown brothers and Andy Charles bench coaches. Despite a physical combat both teams played the game with respect for their opponents and the first period concluded with no penalty minutes and with the home team out shooting Bradford 10 v 7.
The score at the end of the first period was 2-0 in favour of the Bradford Bulldogs.
As the second period commenced Hull raised the game and there were some excellent displays of skill and ability from Ulrick, Strangeway and strength from Robinson and Sewell both of whom played a robust physical game. At 15:45 Hull’s new signing from Grimsby Blissett picked up a two minute penalty for tripping but Bradford could not capitalize on the opportunity. A second power play resulted as Barwell received a further two minute penalty for elbows at 17:56. Once again the Bulldogs looked like they were going to score with Ratcliffe, Lutwyche and Brown rotating the puck and firing shots around Hull’s net. With Hull back to full strength at 22:02 Ulrick scored a well deserved single handed goal. Bradford kept their composure and at 24:23 Brown assisted Lutwyche for goal number three. Against the run of play in the 29:53 minute Haywood feed the puck to Brown who made his signature breakaway down his favoured left and managed to thread the puck through the eye of a needle with a top left shot which received loud applause from both sets of supporters. The period ended with shoot’s on goal in favour of the Bulldogs 7 to 6 but this was by no means a fair reflection on Hull’s possession and shooting frequency or indeed the work rate of Walker, the Bulldogs netminder.
The score at the end of the second period was 4: 1 in favour of the Bulldogs.
The Hull bench retreated to the far corner of the rink which enabled the Bulldogs coaches to build on the confidence of the first two periods as well as giving players more time to rest. Despite a gruelling weekend where a number of players had already played two games, the Bulldogs returned to the ice in a confident mode knowing Hull would give no quarter in the third and final period. Following the face off the battle recommenced in front of the Bulldogs net where the forwards were forced to defend and back up the Bulldogs net minder who at times looked unstoppable. With all of the Bulldogs defending, Sewell persisted in front of the Bradford net and seized the opportunity of a loose puck, flicking it into an open Bradford net less than two minutes into the second period at 31:44. In the 33.26 minute Hull’s Milner picked up a two minute tripping penalty but once again the Bulldogs failed to take advantage of a third power play with some excellent defending and show of strength from the Hull players. With both teams back to full strength the Bulldogs displayed some excellent positional play which exposed Hull for the first time in this period allowing Brown to score his fourth goal of the game at 38:35. Hull never gave up despite being three goals behind and in the 39.08 minute Strangeway roofed the net with assists from Sewell and Robinson. Within two minutes Strangeway clocked up his second goal assisted by Robinson at 41:06. The Bulldogs had to raise the tempo, and some exceptional positional play saw Taylor receiving a hooking penalty in the 44:42 minute. As the power play started counting down the Bulldogs commenced a break out which lead to an off load by Ratcliffe to Brown in central ice and who subsequently found Lutwyche in front of an empty net giving the Bulldogs their sixth and final goal of the game at 44:48.
As the clock counted down and the buzzer sounded the Bulldogs U14’s skated over to congratulate Walker who had performed well but this was very much a team performance and the first game where the whole team had triumphed against a very well drilled and able opponents who are capable of competing for the championship this season.
The final score was 6: 4 in favour of the Bulldogs.
Man of the match award went to Bulldogs net minder Harrison Walker who after the game acknowledged the team’s performance: –
“After the Billingham game we all needed to focus on a win. Sometimes it’s hard playing U12’s and winning and then within minutes you’re back in the same net but the speed of play and puck is so much quicker. No excuses though as on Saturday I had little to do in Manchester which enabled me to focus on today’s game which was quite the opposite and as far as I am concerned we all played well today and the team deserved the award”.
Junior Bulldogs Results this weekend were;
Saturday 16th November 2013
U12’s (Div 1) away to Manchester 15:2. Win
U16’s (Div 1) home to Hull 6:5. Win
Sunday 17th November 2013
U14’s (Div 1) away to Hull 6:4. Win
U18’s (Div 2) away to Solihull 7:5 Win