Another new season upon us, and the Tomahawks start their campaign with a very tough first game against one of the pre season favourites, Nottingham. This should have been our second home game, but our scheduled opener against Bradford was cancelled due to them not being able to get a team together. For Nottingham, this was their fourth outing of the season, having started their campaign with two home defeats against Sheffield and Telford, and an away win at Solihull.
The game was only 25secs old when Whitley netminder Turnbull was called into action with his first save of many. However, at 1.36 mins the Tomahawks opened the scoring through Ben Richards. Callum Read found Harry Harley with a long pass out of defence and he in turn found Richards alone in front of the net, and he made no mistake roofing his shot past Hovell in the Nottingham net. The opening minutes saw the home side piling on the pressure and it was totally against the run of play when Nottingham levelled after 4.54 mins. The puck was dumped behind the Whitley goal line and there didn`t look to be any danger when defender Read tried to clear by hitting it around the boards, but somehow the puck ended up in front of the goal after taking a crazy bounce of the backboards , leaving William Bevan the easy job of tapping into an open net. This seemed to rattle the home side and all of a sudden Nottingham were a different side, taking the game to Whitley and forcing Turnbull into more saves. Eventually, Whitley regained their composure, and the rest of the period was end to end, Turnbull saving a Nottingham breakaway and then Harley almost giving the Tomahawks the lead again right on the buzzer, only to be foiled by Hovell.
The second period started in similar fashion to the first with Whitley dominant, first Harley firing a rocket from the blue line which the keeper did well to save, and then Richards missing in front of goal when it seemed easier to score. The home side were rewarded for their efforts early in the period, with 2 goals in 46 seconds both scored by Harley, the second of which was a great solo effort on the breakaway, before rounding the keeper and slotting home into the open net. The Tomahawks seemed in total control at this point, but Nottingham wouldn`t lie down and got back into the game with a fantastic solo goal of their own scored by former Sheffield player Lyndon Taylor, who forced his way through the whole Whitley team before lifting his shot over the shoulder of the advancing Turnbull, to make it 3-2 at 18.22 mins. Whitley then had chances to extend their lead through Richards and Dale Sharp but were thwarted by Hovell. Nottingham then missed a great chance to tie the game on the power play but somehow, Rosbottom fired wide from 2 yards out when he had a completely empty net at his mercy.
The third period started with the visitors looking for the equalizing goal, and they almost got it when firstly Turnbull saved from Daniel Hazeldine, only for the rebound to fall to Oliver Betteridge, but he fired wide with the net wide open again. At this point of the game the Tomahawks were down to just 3 “D” men after Connor McGill was forced to sit out the remainder of the match after taking a stick to the ribs, but they showed Nottingham how to finish and effectively killed the game off after 6.40mins of the 3rd period, when Richards latched onto a pass out of defence and raced away before firing past the defenceless Hovell to make the score 4-2. The home side completed the scoring 4 minutes later when Harley, again on the breakaway, raced clear to notch his hat-trick goal and secure the 2 points for his team.
Spirit of the game: Harry Harley.
Harry Harley 3 + 2 Ben Richards 2 + 1 Kate Ord 0 + 1 Matthew Campbell 0 + 1
Mark Turnbull faced 28 shots