A WEEK IN REVIEW

Last weekend was a busy weekend with two away games and one in front of a home crowd, it was meant to be a turnaround weekend. It was meant to be the weekend where all the hard work put in by the coaching team and players came to fruition, where the improvements on the ice turned into points in the league. It really looked like that was how it was going to work out as well when we travelled across to Sheffield, 4 goals behind and scored 5 unanswered goals to take the win in the Bradfield Brewery cup. There was a real buzz in the room and a confidence, there has even been a suggestion that on Friday night the belief was so high on the bench they couldn’t see any way we would leave Sheffield without the win!

As you can imagine, moving into Saturday against Peterborough, the belief was still there and there was a good feeling behind the curtain of being able to grab points from the game. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be, and to be honest we had our chances and lots of them, we just couldn’t convert them into goals! Offensively we were getting into the right areas and we caused them problems, but their netminder was equal to them all. He was quality all night long which gave them the opportunity to seize every little mistake we made and capitalise on them. Don’t get me wrong, we came out of the blocks like a steam train and the game was fast paced and spread across the ice. A series of penalties and a player ejected from the game didn’t help our cause at all, but you have to be mentally tough enough to roll with those punches and carry on. A decision is a decision and whether you agree with them or not you cannot change them. The game finished in a disappointing loss for the Pirates going down 4-1, controversially Peterborough called a time out with 7 seconds left and a 3 goal lead to swap their import goalie for their British back-up. Ultimately this had no effect on the game whatsoever, other than resting up their starting netminder for Sundays game.

We travelled to Telford on Sunday to face a very strong team who have recently secured the EPL title and were on a winning streak in the league of 11 games. The final score for the game was 5-2, but this really did not reflect the game which unfolded and Telford certainly didn’t have the game all their own way! Again it was a fast start, but also a physical start, which appeared to unsettle the Telford team and certainly seemed to affect their game plan. Leading this physicality were Martins Ondrej and Lee Bonner who were both singled out for special attention by the opposition. The physical and chippy nature of the game led to a series of penalties (including a 2+10 for Ondrej) which effectively snubbed the spark in the game. Telford managed to capitalise on short-handed breaks during our powerplays and we just could not get a puck past Baston in the Telford net! At times Baston was absolutely clueless as to the whereabouts of the puck and Lady Luck played a large part in keeping it out of their goal. This could not be said at the other end where fate conspired to sink us once more when Lakosil made the save and sent the rebound behind our goal. Unfortunately a backchecking player collided with him and gifted an open net to the attacking Telford players. That sort of thing kind of summed up our trip to Shropshire really, it wasn’t through lack of heart, desire or effort that we lost. Telford have so much depth in their roster and if you make one slip up they will punish you.

There is one player, though, who flies somewhat under the radar but deserves more recognition, and that is Jonathan Kirk. He has been fantastic for this team as the season has gone on, he has played defence, he has played centre, he has played wherever he has been asked to! When momentum needed to be changed and the opposition needed to be held to account on Sunday it was JK who dropped the gloves. He does all of this with the upmost professionalism and he is a great role model for young players of how things should be done. As opposed to those who want to play the game at a professional level but aren’t prepared to put the time, effort and commitment in. JK is the epitome of a team player who sacrifices it all for the boys he stands with every game rather than buying in to the individual superstar syndrome which can be prevalent in our game. Again, young, British players could do much worse than look to Kirk as an example.