Weekend review – Wins for 14s and 16s but Seniors suffer shoot-out agony

BRADFORD BULLDOGS slipped to their second defeat of the NIHL North Two season after losing out to Sutton Sting 2-1 after a shoot-out at Ice Sheffield.

In what proved to be an even contest throughout Sunday’s meeting, it was the Bulldogs who enjoyed the perfect start when they got on the board with just 71 seconds having elapsed through Matt Barlow.

The visitors managed to retain their lead throughout the opening 20 minutes, with goaltender Phil Pearson turning away all 10 shots on his goal.

Bradford enjoyed the better of the possession in the second period but saw their lead disappear when Ryan Apsley levelled for the hosts at 28.31.

Despite plenty of chances at both ends, that is how it stayed through 60 and the subsequent overtime, leaving both teams at the mercy of the shoot-out. 

Only two shots apiece were needed after Josh Stockton and Matt Viney were denied, while Apsley and Jacob Frost got the better of Pearson.

The previous day, the Bulldogs Under-16s ventured up the A1 and A19 to take on their Billingham counterparts

A first-period hat-trick from Oliver Massey set the tone for the evening, the Bulldogs finding themselves 5-1 ahead at the first break thanks to additional strikes from Daragh Spawforth and Frankie O’Sullivan, Billingham’s solitary reply coming from Reece Malcolm.

Early in the second, Spawforth grabbed his second before Danny Harrison grabbed his first at 18.54 while the Bulldogs were short-handed. 

But then six goals in the space of just over four minutes brought an early conclusion to the contest, Brett Harper getting his first of the season at 21.01 to make it 8-1, with Massey netting his fourth of the night just over a minute later.

Harrison then hit two more within 33 seconds of each other to bring up his hat-trick, before Cian Sharrock registered his first for the campaign at 24.55.

Harrison then made it four for the night 50 seconds later, the mercy rule kicking in before the teams then sportingly mixing and matching their line-ups for the remainder of the game.

On Sunday, the Under-14s took on Sheffield in an eagerly-anticipated encounter at Bradford Ice Arena.

And it was the Bulldogs who made all the early running, going ahead through a Daragh Spawforth marker at 3.54 before Danny Harrison doubled the lead on the power play at 7.19.

A second for Spawforth just over a minute later put the hosts firmly in control, their 3-0 lead lasting to the first break.

Sheffield got on the board early in the second through Joseph Matthewman, but the three-goal cushion was quickly restored through a second on the power play for Harrison at 18.41.

The expected push back from Sheffield began when a 5-on-3 power play marker for Matthewman at 26.34 was followed by another on the man advantage 34 seconds later by Harry Roebuck to make it a one-goal game.

The Bulldogs were quick to respond, Harrison’s hat-trick strike at 27.37 being followed 20 seconds later by Spawforth’s third for the game to give the hosts a 6-3 cushion.

But Sheffield refused to go away, Matthewman’s hat-trick marker at 28.20 giving them hope before the second break after which it became a one-goal game again through Finley Williams’s 31st-minute strike.

Crucially, the next goal came from a Bulldogs’ stick, Spawforth firing a rip-snorter into the top corner at 31.48, while the industrious Frankie O’Sullivan got his reward when he registered a shorthanded marker with just over four minutes remaining. 

Harrison made sure of the points with his fourth with just 40 seconds remaining on the clock, before netminder Jacob Midgley deservedly took the Spirit of the Game award after turning away all but four of the 47 shots that came down on his goal. 

Finally, we were unable to bring you a report from our Under-10s latest jamboree after and accident on the M62 meant they were unable to get to Widnes for the event.