Whitley Tomahawks travelled to Ice Sheffield for their 2nd of 3 consecutive away games looking for a good result to keep them on the tails of league leaders Bradford. In the corresponding home fixture, the Tomahawks came away with a narrow 2-1 win, so will be expecting another tough game today.
Any nerves amongst the visitors were settled just 35 seconds into the first period when Dale Sharp found Natasha Crozier unmarked in the low slot and her backhanded shot crept under the pads of home netminder Warren Gilfoyle to give the Tomahawks an early lead. The home side quickly drew level with a power play goal at 3.08, when with Callum Read sitting in the box for a delay of game penalty, Alex Kingston fired home from close range after Mark Turnbull had saved the original effort from Joel Ahern. The Tomahawks regained the lead at 4.13 when Ben Richards was allowed to skate past 2 defenders unchallenged, and then round the totally exposed Gilfoyle to score a great unassisted goal. The Tomahawks then went close with efforts from Harry Harley and Matty Campbell, before Turnbull was called into action again with a save from Rudolf Molnar . Whitleys Sean Bamling smashed a shot from the blue line against the Sheffield crossbar on 12 mins, then Read saw his shot from the same distance saved by Gilfoyle. The home sides Walker was called for interference at 12.21, and the Tomahawks took full advantage to increase their lead with a power play goal from Sharp, firing past Gilfoyle after being set up by Bamling. That was the end of the 1st period scoring, with both netminders having faced 10 shots apiece, and the Tomahawks leading 3-1.
The Tomahawks were almost caught cold at the start of the 2nd period when Sheffields Scott Howells broke free and only a diving challenge by Bamling prevented him from having a clear run at the Whitley goal. However, they did reduce the deficit at20.49 with an unassisted effort from Ahern, skating unchallenged past the Whitley defence before finishing with a wraparound goal on his backhand. Campbell and Harley were both close to restoring the 2 goal cushion with big shots late in the period with the Tomahawks out shooting the home side 16 to 3, but Gilfoyle and his defence stood firm to finish the period at 2-3.
The 3rd period started rather scrappily, with both sides taking early penalties, but neither team able to capitalise. The home side were definitely the stronger of the 2 teams at this point, and Turnbull was being overworked in the visitors net keeping them out. Harley was called for elbows at 37.09 and the home side drew level with 1 second left on his penalty when Howells netted the rebound after Aherns shot came back off Turnbull. Right at the death, Turnbull earned his side a point with a fantastic stick save when Molnar had an open net to aim at, and the Tomahawks held on for a precious point in a game that could easily have slipped away from them. 3-3 was probably a fair result but The Tomahawks will have been disappointed with their 3rd period display, being out shot 14 to 3 by the home side.
Spirit of the Game; #96 Matty Campbell.
Goals; Dale Sharp 1+1, Ben Richards 1+0, Natasha Crozier 1+0, Sean Bamling 0+1.
PIMs; Whitley 10, Sheffield 8.
Shots Faced; Mark Turnbull (Whitley) 27, Warren Gilfoyle (Sheffield) 29.