Whitley Braves 2 v 5 Nottingham

After their draw at Hull, The Braves were back in action for their first home game of the season against Nottingham. Jack Davies was a doubt for Whitley, having injured his hand at Hull, but was on the team sheet and Connor McGill was called up from the under 16`s to bolster the defence.

Nottingham were quickest out of the blocks and should have taken the lead in the first minute of the game when they had a 2 on 0 break, but Whitley netminder  Joe Harley rescued his team with a timely poke check. Davies` game was over after his first shift, his hand obviously causing him a lot of discomfort and he wasn’t able to continue. Harry Harley had a great chance to open the scoring for Whitley when 1 on 1 with Nottingham netminder Sam Gospel, but the keeper got his blocker to his shot, and all of a sudden Nottingham had a breakaway which Joe Steeples converted to give his side a 1-0 lead. The Braves hit back at 8.26 when Luke Shanks collected the puck on the left wing and found Harley alone in front of net with a square pass, and his 1 timer flew past Gospel to level the scores at 1-1. Shanks then had a great opportunity to give his side the lead but with the goal at his mercy the puck bobbled over his stick and the chance was gone. Whitley suffered a blow at 15.49 when speedy forward Daniel Spedding received a 2+2+10 for attempted spearing as the game turned nasty. With Spedding in the penalty box and his team on the penalty-kill, Nottingham regained the lead in bizarre fashion at 19.15, when a speculative wrist shot from halfway by Daniel Rose flew over Harleys right shoulder and into the net.

Shanks was again denied at the start of the 2nd period, when with the keeper stranded, he again failed to connect with the loose puck. The Braves were piling the pressure on now, and went close through Harley, Spedding, back on the ice after his 14 minute penalty, and a Callum Read slapshot that Gospel did well to block. However, it was the away side that extended their lead at 34.19 after some good fore checking in the corner Ollie Betteridge was allowed to skate out and fire past Harley to make it 3-1. Whitley got back into the game at 38.02, when after some good work behind the net by Christian Johnson he found Read with a clever pass, and he made no mistake with his finish to get his side back to within 1 goal. The Braves then had a great chance to tie the game with a 3 on 1 rush, but nobody was able to connect with the puck as it flew through the crease.

Nottingham sealed their victory with 2 further goals in the space of 4 minutes at the start of the 3rd period, firstly Steeples scoring with a backhander from close range and then Betteridge getting his second of the game with an identical goal to his first, allowed to skate out from the corner and fire past Harley. The home side were presented with a glimmer of hope when Nottingham took 2 penalties in quick succession, giving them a 5 on 3 at 53.04, but within 10 seconds they once again lost Spedding, this time for intent to head butt, which seemed to kill any chance they had of getting back into the game.

Two games in two days seemed to take it out of The Braves, while the scoreline slightly flattered Nottingham, but The Braves will be out for revenge when the 2 sides meet again at the National Ice Centre next weekend.

Spirit of the Game; #13 Callum Clark
Goals; Harry Harley 1+0, Callum Read 1+0, Luke Shanks 0+2, Christian Johnson 0+1.
PIM`s; Whitley 39, Nottingham 8.
Shots Faced; Harley ( Whitley )31, Gospel ( Nottingham ) 46.

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