Whitley Arrows v Sutton Sting – Saturday 21st December.

Whitley travelled to bottom of the table Sutton who started with a surprise goal in the second minute.  Whitley were struggling to adapt to the much smaller rink in Mansfield.  Thomas Fraser settled Whitley’s nerves with a superb finish, rounding the keeper to score with typical confidence.

Sustained pressure from the visitors came to nothing as the Sting scrapped hard to keep the scores even.  Campbell received a 2 minute penalty for holding, putting his team under pressure before the first period break.  Some solid defensive leadership from the ever impressive Nergaard kept the scores even.  Nergaard then received a 2 minute penalty for checking.  A period of sustained pressure and a series of quality saves from Hutchinson ended when Sutton scored after a scramble in front of the net.  2 – 1 to Sutton going into the break.

Another lack of Whitley discipline at the start of the second period saw Jay Lucas going into the box and the predictable pattern of another Sutton penalty goal was neutralised by a Luke Mitcheson snipe in front of the net.  The 2 goal advantage was restored seconds later as a Sutton shot from out wide went into the corner of the net.  Whitley needed to keep their shape and take finish better.  This is exactly what Mathew Wood did in front of the net in the 18th minute and was followed up seconds later by Jack Hannebelle , a great power shot from out wide to make it 4 – 4.

A sharp Philip Curry shot found the net to send the crowd wild, Whitley battling to a 4 – 5 lead.  The Arrows were still not in control of this game, this was not helped by the number of penalties, Taylor getting 2 minutes for tripping joined in the box by Hennebelle and again, Sutton netted to draw even at 5-5.

The third period started with Sutton getting the lucky breaks, loading the front of each net and made it count with two goals in the opening minutes. A stunning Joe Walls finish drew a goal back for Whitley with 7 minutes of play left in the game.  A cool finish from Mitcheson lobbing over the opposing net minder drew this pulsating game level at 7 – 7.  A bullet of a shot from Taylor put Whitley 7 – 8 up with four minutes of the game left.  Whitley went down a player to yet another penalty with one minute left and a great save from Hutchinson with seconds to go gave Whitley a thrilling away victory.  Luke Mitcheson was given spirit of the game.

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