BRADFORD BULLDOGS Seniors made it two wins from two for the season when they opened their North Cup account with a dramatic shoot-out win at Sheffield Titans.
Josh Reynolds was the only player from both sides to find the net after 60 minutes and overtime couldn’t separate the two sides at Ice Sheffield, the visitors winning 3-2 to follow on from their 8-0 win in the league two weeks previously against Nottingham.
After a goalless first period, the Bulldogs – with Under-18s Damarni James, Jack Wooding, Lucas Vince and Matthew Cross making their competitive senior debuts – struck while shorthanded with Chris Butler in the box on a high sticks call, Reynolds set up by Matt Barlow to fire past Nick Winters in the Titans net at 26.47.
But, within two minutes, the Bulldogs found themselves behind, Reece Wickens levelling on the power play at 27.58 before, just 12 seconds later, William Szollosy found a way past Phil Pearson.
It was all tied again before the end of a busy second, though, James marking his competitive senior debut with a goal at 35.05, the helpers coming from Reynolds and captain Dean Boothroyd.
Try as they might, neither side could find a way through again, leaving Reynolds to make himself the hero of the day, his successful turn in the first round of the shoot-out adding to his earlier goal and assist, with netminder Pearson earning the man of the match award.
The win meant a double celebration for the Under-18 youngsters after they had returned from Coventry the previous evening as victors by the same scoreline in their first league game of the 2021-22 season.
Captained by James, the visitors found themselves behind when the deadlock was broken early in the second by Connor Wheeldon.
But James led by example, dragging his team level on the power play at 30.12 with help from Logan Jean-Jacques, before putting the Bulldogs in front just over five minutes later – again on the man advantage – with Vince and Cross picking up the assists.
However, Coventry got back on level terms when Tyler Somerton fired past the excellent Gabe Lingard at 45.10, but the day was to belong to the visitors when Jess Wooding and Mackenzie Barker combined to set up Jacob Brownlie for the winner at 56.13, Bulldogs’ goalie Lingard deservedly picking up the man of the match award for turning away 56 of the 58 shots on his net.
Earlier in the day, the Under-14s bounced back from their opening day disappointment against Nottingham with a comprehensive 14-3 win over Whitley Bay.
The hosts were 2-0 ahead by the end of the first with Daragh Spawforth bagging both goals, but it was in the second where the game was put to bed, Spawforth adding four more, with Danny Harrison (2), Frank O’Sullivan and Kieran Smith also getting on the scoresheet.
Spawforth (7+5) found the net again in the third period, with Harrison (4+7) adding another couple and O’Sullivan (2+5) doubling up for the day. Max Lutwyche, Will Durgan and Charlie Barker also got an assist apiece in what was an all-round impressive display from the home team.
Bulldogs’ head coach Andy Brown said: “It was a great weekend for the club, you can’t argue with wins for all of our teams that were in action.
“It was great to see the Under-18s open their season with a hard-fought win down in Coventry, the Under-14s came back from that disappointing defeat to Nottingham really well against Whitley and our seniors were able to make it two from two for the season.”