The Hull Pirates came from behind and hit a perfect ten to finish the regular season with an emphatic win over Yorkshire rivals the Sheffield Steeldogs.
In a rivalry that runs deeper than most, the Smailes Goldie Hull Pirates saw out the regular season facing the Steeldogs in front of a very full, VERY loud Hull Arena in front of the Lord Mayor of Hull.
There is no love lost between these two teams and the depth of hatred boiled over in this game with 4 fights in the opening 15 minutes as both teams tried to put their stamp on the game early. Jamie Chilcott, Lee Bonner, Jordan Fisher and Dominic Osman each stuck up for their teammates and dropped the gloves with their Sheffield counterparts; Calvert, Relf, Palak and Lascek.
It was the Steeldogs who opened the scoring in the midst of this frantic period. With the Pirates on the powerplay, Lee Haywood was prevented from keeping possession of the puck as an official found himself in the way. This set Macaulay Heywood on a breakaway and he finished high on the backhand for 0-1 at 7.48.
Sheffield doubled their lead a few minutes later as Arnoldas Bosas scored on the powerplay at 11.59 with assists from Kumeliauskus and Kirk.
This kick-started the Pirates offense and Andy Hirst scored his third goal of the weekend to put the Pirates on the board at 14.36, thanks to a sweet pass from Captain Nathan Salem from behind the Sheffield goal.
Less than 3 minutes later the Pirates tied the game as Tommi Laine scored an unassisted goal at 17.04 for a 2-2 scoreline.
The manic first period was not finished and Sheffield snuck another goal to take a 2-3 lead into the intermission, Stanislav Lascek firing home at 19.29.
The Pirates really turned up the heat in the second period as they scored goals 3 and 4 just six seconds apart to take the lead. A rocket from the blueline from Jon Kirk tied the game 3-3 at 25.05 before Andrej Themar (obviously) finished off a slick play straight from the faceoff putting the Pirates ahead for the first time on the night at 25.11. Sam Towner picked up assists on both goals.
The Pirates continued their rampant second period as Ugnius Cizas scored his first of the night at 29.14. Cizas broke into the zone at speed and looked to pass before deciding to shoot five-hole on Stones. Salem and Chilcott earned the assist on the goal.
Helper, turned goal-scorer, it was Jamie Chilcott’s turn for a goal. A 2-on-1 saw Chilcott connect with a beautiful saucer pass from Salem, he batted the puck out of mid-air to score a wonderful goal for 6-3.
Another wild period was finished off by Andrej Themar as he scored his second of the game at 36.01 giving the Pirates 5 unanswered goals in the second period for a 7-3 lead.
Once again it didn’t take the Pirates long to get going in the third and they extended their lead at 41.53, Ugnius Cizas getting his second of the evening with assists from Andy Hirst and Nathan Salem.
The Steeldogs attempted to mount something of a comeback cutting the Pirates lead to 8-4 with a goal from Lascek on the powerplay at 43.54.
Capt. Salem wasn’t happy with the goal and took matters into his own hands, scoring his first goal of the night at 47.15. The goal came after a brilliant stretch pass from Jordan Stokes sent Tommi Laine on a breakaway, Tommi’s shot was saved but Salem found the rebound and buried it for 9-4.
The Steeldogs didn’t quit as they desperately tried to claw their way back into the game. A powerplay goal from Cole Shudra at 49.14 brought the score to 9-5 before Kumeliauskus scored his second at 54.36 for 9-6.
Those goals were mere consolations however, as the Pirates finished the scoring at 56.39. Dominic Osman scored on the powerplay to give the Pirates 10, Ugnius Cizas and Nathan Salem both gained assists on the goal.
In a brilliant advert for EPIHL hockey and the Hull Pirates, Captain Nathan Salem came up big, finishing the evening with a massive 6 points, from 1 goal and 5 assists. Cizas also played a blinder finishing with 2+2.
This big win was perfect preparation for the Pirates as they enter the Playoffs with some momentum.
Our playoff journey begins on Weds 22nd March away at Basingstoke and at Swindon on Sat 25th before returning home on the 26th to face EPL Cup winners the Milton Keynes Lightning (FO 17:30).
We ask you, our brilliant fan,s to pack out the rink during the playoffs and cheer the boys to Coventry. Be LOUD, be PROUD, WE ARE PIRATES!