Match Night Review – MK Lightning 08/12/19

Hat-trick Hero Bonner Boosts Pirates’ Momentum

The Smailes Goldie Hull Pirates broke a three game winless streak with victory over Milton Keynes Lightning in a physical affair on Sunday evening.

After a disappointing 8-4 loss against the Wildcats on Saturday, Sunday’s game was the ideal occasion to turn results around, also spurred on by the game being the Pirates’ annual Teddy Bear Toss.

As a hard-hitting opening period came to an end, the visitors found themselves heading into the break 0-1 ahead when Tomas Kana pocketed his own rebound after seeing his initial shot saved by Ash Smith [17:37].

Lightning’s lead would last just three minutes into the second period; Peter Fabus skating the puck along the boards and around the MK net before finding Bonner, who slotted past Dean Skinns for his first of the night to bring a wave of teddy bears over the boards [23:21].

Fabus was again the catalyst for the home side’s go-ahead goal a further three minutes later, battling hard along the boards once more to find Sam Towner who’s one-touch pass split the Lightning defence, landing on Bonner’s stick unmarked to make it 2-1 [26:04].

With the physicality ramping up, the Pirates found themselves short-handed when Steven Chalmers was penalised for cross checking. On the resultant power play, the Lightning were level. Patient build up from the visitors ended with Ross Green slipping a pass onto the tape of Kana’s stick, who’s one-timer found the back of the net for 2-2 [32:34].

The home side responded almost immediately with a power play goal of their own. Johnathan Kirk’s shot from the blue line brought about a scramble in front of the Lightning net, resulting in Bonner edging the puck to Norris for an easy tap in and a 3-2 Pirates lead [35:02].

Shortly after, the Pirates had the puck in the back of the Lightning net for what they thought was their fourth goal. However, the officials waved it off and issued a ten minute penalty to Bobby Chamberlain for abuse. On the resultant power play Milton Keynes were level; a one timer from Grinell-Parke redirected at the back post by Liam Stewart to tie the game at 3 each [36:39].

With the second period break came a chance for tempers to cool, and indeed the third started in blistering fashion for the Pirates. A 3-on-2 breakaway led by Jason Hewitt was finished when his pass found Bonner to slot home for his hat-trick and a 4-3 lead for the home team [44:26].

After the Pirates had another goal disallowed, their fifth came in similar fashion to the one beforehand. Whilst on the power play, David Norris burst out of the Pirates’ zone, skated towards Skinns and drew the MK netminder before teeing up Hewitt for his first of the game for 5-3 [54:41].

With the Lightning on a late power play and pulling their goalie, Smith stood strong in the Pirates net to close the game out and give Hewitt’s men a much-needed two points and some momentum heading into the Christmas period.

Man Of The Match Awards:-

Milton Keynes Lightning -Robin Kovar

Hull Pirates – Lee Bonner

Author Grieg Cardwell 


Weekends preview

Preview Swindon Wildcats and Milton Keynes Lightning
Where to start with last weekend? A shootout loss to an improving Milton Keynes side before a big loss to rivals Telford. Not the weekend any of us wanted or that the team would have envisaged. There is, however, no point in dwelling on the past and instead we move onto this week where we have two big games against Swindon away and Milton Keynes at home.
Our weekend starts with Swindon who are currently second in the table. They look defensively sold conceding just 62 goals in 21 games. Under 3 goals a game in this new league is not an easy thing to achieve. Kenny Marr appears to have everything he needs at the back to make this team competitive and his 91.25% save percentage is testament to this. Going forward they have scoring in abundance. Import Tomasz Malasinski has 43 points in 21 games and Aaron Nell has 39 in 21 games. Only our very own Jason Hewitt sits above them in the points table.
At home on Sunday we see the Milton Keynes Lightining arrive in Hull for what will be our annual Teddy Toss night. They look a stronger unit than previous visits to the arena and have added some quality to the roster. This change has also seen them improve results over the previous few weeks. The Lightning come into the game with a league high amount of penalty minutes so this contest should be tough and gritty. Another opportunity for us to show a better temperament and utilise our special teams fully.
At the back they have used 3 nettles this season but predominantly for Steeldog Brandon Stones. He currently sits on an 89.83% save percentage. Experienced D man Leigh Jamieson will no doubt need to have a strong game to stem the offence of the Pirates and will be suitably supported by Jordan Stokes at the back.
Going forward they look to have struggled somewhat early doors. They have replaced an import and are hoping for more success from current import Tomas Kana who has 23 points in 20 games. Former Hull player Cale Tanaka is always threat and has the ability to grind opportunities out for himself and others. Equally the addition of Liam Stewart to the roster looks a good piece of business with the player scoring 10 times in his first 7 games.
Hull will hope to be back to there best for 2 games that will once again be tight and tough affairs. Big nights will be needed across the team a we look to stem the goals we concede whilst continue our blistering form in front of the net.
By Dave Heath
Hull Pirate Media Partner


Preview Telford Tigers 01/12/19

A 4 point weekend last weekend was just what the doctor ordered to allow the Pirates assault on the top 2 teams to continue. We still have games in hand over the top 3 teams so we could continue to close the gap this weekend. A game away at Milton Keynes looks crucial for us to keep pace with the top 3 and the game on Sunday looks like an absolute belter.

Tigers have visited us recently with a much depleted side and will look to come back to the arena stronger than the last time we saw them. The will be with several players who missed out last time including Hull legend Jason Silverthorn who is already above a point a game since his return to the side. Import player Florian looks like a stand out signing with 33 points in 18 games (13 goals and 20 assists) whilst also having a gritty edge to his game with 42 penalty minutes so far. Scott McKenzie appears as a stand out Brit player with his 31 points in 18 games also noteworthy. After this there seems to be a raft of players with assists but not many who are regularly hitting the twine themselves.

Brad Day looks like a much more consistent version of himself than earlier on in the season. A 90.18% save percentage is a solid achievement in this new look league. He is currently being protected by elder statesman Jonathan Weaver and some younger bodies Corey Goodison and Ross Kennedy who have all put up good points as well.

This is a real opportunity for the Pirates to show the consistency and potential needed to be a top team in this league. Back to back 4 point weekends is a real statement of intent from teams and this would be a great one to get against a top 3 team. To do this we still need to cut the unforced errors and tighten up aspects of our game including on ice discipline (although last weeks officiating was interesting to say the least). Ultimately Sunday night we play one of the best teams in this league but a team that we know we can beat. If the boys fire as we know that they can and we as fans are loud and supportive we could be a fearsome prospect to face.

By Dave Heath
Hull Pirate Media


Preview – Basingstoke Bison 24/11/19

3 points from 4 allowed Pirates to maintain 5th spot in the league last week. A solid 6-4 win at home against Peterborough was followed by a shootout loss in Bracknell. Not an easy place to go and take points yet I’m sure the players and coaches will have felt they could’ve had both points.

Onto this week and it is the turn of Basingstoke Bison to visit the arena. Bison sit 2 points clear of us going into this weekend and in 3rd place. Again this has the potential to be a cracker of a game.

Offensively the Bison look to have a handful of players who look to offer some threat. Old head Ashley Tait tops the pile with 22 points in 15 games however only 7 of these are goals. Leading goalscorer is currently young Brit Alex Sampford who has 11. He is closely followed by Michal Klejna with 11 goals and a total of 20 points. Other than this they have lots of points spread out amongst a few players.

At the back they seem to be capable of switching keepers without fuss. Both Alex Mettam and Daniel Weller-Evans appear to have played a number of games each. Metal posting an 87.7% save percentage and Weller-Evans a 91% save percentage. At the back they have Hull boy Tom Ralph who looks to have added the ability to put some points onto his steady at the back game. Adam Jones looks an offensive option in D and offers some more potency going forward.

This could be a much sought after 4 point weekend. Away to Leeds on Saturday, although with no sign of the new arena in Leeds being completed we travel to Blackburn. This followed by a home fixture against the Bison could offer us a chance to climb the table. We are starting to look like a team capable of challenging for places nearer the top rather than the middle. The addition of Chalmers and return of Chilly make us look more solid in defense. The form of Hewitt, Bonner, Chamberlain and recently Towner going forward looks like all areas are clicking into action.

This being said concentration and consistency will be just as important over the coming weeks and months. If the team can eradicate unforced or individual errors we could be a destructive force to play against.

By Dave Heath
Hull Pirate Media


Preview Peterborough Phantoms

A mixed bag of results for the Pirates last week showing that this league is vastly more competitive than the previous leagues we’ve been in. A solid 6 – 2 win against Leeds after the fantastic Remembrance Day Service on Saturday was pleasing and despite battling hard to come back from 3 goals down in Telford the Tigers managed to hold on to victory with a 5-3 win on the Sunday.

Peterborough are a team we have seen plenty of so far this year having already gone toe to toe with them on 4 times in league and friendly action. We know all about the depth that this team possess but so far we have prevailed in three of the four fixtures.

Phantoms sit 3 points clear of us in 4th but we do have a fixture against MK to be rearranged. This makes this game vital as we could in time turn the 3 point lead Peterborough have into a 3 point lead of our own.

The Phantoms look like a team that are putting points up for fun with 5 of their players including 2 imports already hitting a point a game which in this new standard is no mean achievement. Stepney looks like the goal threat for the Phantoms bagging 13 so far whilst Martin Susters has 14 assists in his 24 point haul. Sisters has spent a fair while off the ice too with his 38 penalty minutes a club high.

Defensively they have a mix of old heads and young bodies which allows them to have some flexibility with whatever situation arises. Couple this with solid net minder and former Pirate Jordan Marr and it is perhaps surprising to see them with 9 wins and 7 losses so far this season. Maybe this is more evidence of the new higher standard of league.. Regardless we know this will be no timid encounter. The pre season friendly at Hull was a feisty affair and there will be no shortage of personal battles on the ice this week.

As already eluded to last week was a mixed bag for the Pirates but this said there is no shame in going on the road and losing in Telford who are currently one of the top 2 teams in the league. What was pleasing to see is the return of Chilly and debut of Chalmers. Both will make a vast difference to a D that has conceded the 8th most amount of goals this season.

fingers crossed we get the full team back out soon and make a real charge for higher league positions.

By Dave Heath
Hull Pirates Media


Preview – Leeds Chiefs 09/11/19

One game last week culminating in an overtime  win over high flying Telford which pulls us further up the league.  

This week we face Leeds at home on Saturday before travelling away to Telford on the Sunday.  Another tough weekend in this much tougher league.

Leeds are building momentum steadily and have picked up 3 wins so far including a 3-2 win over the Steeldogs.

Backstopped by Sam Gospel who currently boasts an 86.8% save percentage and with rugged old school D men in the form of Steve Duncombe and Luke Boothroyd they will be no easy group to break down. Sam Zajac coaches the team and we are no stranger to his skills having watched him this season and in previous years at the arena.  

Leeds look potent going forward at present with former Pirate James Archer currently sat on 18 points.  Radek Meidl is ably supporting him with his own 18 points.  Adam Walker looks a threat also with 15 points but a club high 52 penalty minutes will have limited his ice time. 

Steven Moore who was such a potent player in last years league with Solway has yet to find his best form.  If he clicks into action there are a group of players who could case some defensive worries for the Pirates.

We all know that Leeds will be coming into this expecting to push us hard and it will be another close game.  We could do with getting out of this habit of winning in overtime and instead win games in regulation.  

The addition of Steven Chalmers who should make his belated debut this week will assist us with that goal.  As we slowly start to get back to full strength and with the new additions to the team we look a very different set up to what we did a few weeks back.  

This will undoubtedly be rugged and tough all weekend and only a team playing at their very best will come away with a 4 point weekend.  

Author – Dave Heath


Match review 03/11/19 – Hewitt Tames Tigers in Overtime Battle

Hewitt Tames Tigers in Overtime Battle

Player Coach Jason Hewitt’s overtime goal secured the two points for the Smailes Goldie Hull Pirates in their only game of the weekend, overcoming a resolute Telford Tigers team.

It was the Pirates who started the game better, Peter Fabus with two chances in the early stages, firing just wide and then ringing a shot off off Brad Day’s post. The first period continued at a quick but physical pace until Lee Bonner found a way past Day to give the home side the lead just after 12 minutes.

This lead would last less than two minutes as, during a spell of 4-on-4 hockey after penalties to Jordan Fisher and Ross Kennedy, Daniel Mitchell skated his way through the Pirates’ defence and slotted past Ashley Smith.

Less than a minute later and the Pirates would retake the lead. With Fisher’s penalty expired, the home team found themselves on the power play and took full advantage, Bonner gathering the puck near the blue line and launched a rocket past Day, making it 2-1 after 16 minutes.

Once again the visitors responded immediately; Andrew McKinney utilising a breakdown in concentration from the home side to equalise just 15 seconds after conceding, bringing the game to 2-2 which it remained until the end of the period.

The second period began much as the preceding one ended. The Tigers had the first chance of the middle period, ringing Smith’s post. It was, however, their turn to lapse in concentration when Aaron Smith found Bobby Chamberlain in space, who made no mistake in beating Day to claim a 3-2 lead.

With the play broken up by a series of penalties for both sides, the Tigers once again pulled level. Jack Watkins finding the back of the Pirates’ net after 30 minutes to equalise for the third time in the game. 

Five minutes later and the home side were back in front. Hewitt grabbing his first of the night on the power play with a strong wrist shot. Telford pushed for another equaliser, forcing Smith into some strong saves and striking the bar themselves. The period however ended with fireworks as Fisher and Corey Goodison dropped the gloves; Fisher gaining a two minute cross checking penalty to boot.

The third period started with Telford capitalising on their extra man; Scott McKenzie slotting past Smith to level the game once more at 4 each. The rest of the period passed with minimal incident, a tough physical game taking its effect on both sides.

With less than one minute remaining, the Pirates found themselves with the extra man; McKinney taking a seat in the box for kneeing. The Tigers however closed regulation time out to send the game to the additional five minutes of overtime.

With McKinney’s penalty carrying over, the home side made full use almost immediately as a slick passing play found Hewitt who pocketed the game winner and the two points.

Man Of The Match Awards:-

Telford Tigers – #30 Brad Day

Hull Pirates – #74 Lee Bonner

Author Greig Cardwell 


This weeks preview- Telford Tigers

 Preview Telford Tigers

A one game weekend this week!

Our focus this week will be on the Telford Tigers which looks like one of the toughest games this season. The tigers sit 2nd currently with a game in hand on top placed Swindon.

With Telford sitting 7 points clear of Hull this could be billed as a must win game. Telford have scored 52 goals and conceded 36 so clearly have some attacking prowess and ability to keep games tight if needed.

The Telford Tigers have former Pirate player Brad Day between the pipes. Currently averaging 89.19% it appears it’s been a mixed start to the season for him. We all know however that he has the ability to be a game winner on his night. Import player Dominik Florian has 9 goals and 10 assists from his 11 games which shows some potency. He has been supported by Scott McKenzie who has registered 17 points this season. Injuries have piled up for the Tigers which has seen them recruit former elite league player Brandon Whistle. He has registered 8 points in 6 games. At the back they have the experienced Jonathan Weaver who adds some further offence when the chance allows. With this in mind the Tigers outfit looks very much a better offensive one than defensive one.

Last weekend Pirates defeated the Peterborough Phantoms at home and succumbed to a defeat on the road. Despite that loss there were positives to be had. David Norris looks every part a player that will make a difference to our attack. He looked gritty and got into corners willingly. The partnership he had with Sam Towner this weekend looked like they had played together for years. Between the two of them they had 8 points in 2 games last week. Couple this with the ever feisty duo of Lee Bonner and Bobby Chamberlain and how well they are playing currently and we look an awesome force going forward. 

A much more solid performance defensively allowed As Smith to register a 94.21% save percentage last week. Hopefully this will build his confidence up and with the added experience of Steven Chalmers our D can tighten up on the start to the season which has seen us ship 51 goals. One thing the team must do is tighten up the number of penalties taken each night. Good discipline is imperative to us climbing the table

Whatever happens this week I think we can expect to see 2 teams who will attack hard and there will be plenty of opportunities for us to build on our promising form over the past couple of weeks.

By Dave Heath

Hull Pirate Media Partner


Solid Pirates Performance Gains Revenge on Phantoms

The Smailes Goldie Hull Pirates produced one of their best overall performances of the season to date to gain revenge over the Peterborough Phantoms after falling 5-4 in Peterborough a mere 24 hours earlier.

The main talking point heading in to the weekend’s double header was the release of Olegs Sislannikovs, and the resultant signing of David Norris. Canadian Norris seemed to have slotted in almost immediately with his performance on Saturday night, and all eyes were on him as he made his home debut tonight.

The game started at a frenetic pace, both sides testing Ashley Smith and Jordan Marr respectively. However, it was the home side who made the initial breakthrough. Slick passing between Norris, Jason Hewitt and Bobby Chamberlain saw the latter slot past Marr on the 10 minute mark.

The Phantoms responded, only kept at bay by an inspired Smith in the Pirates net; and indeed the rest of the opening period passed without any additional score.

The second 20 minutes continued in much the same way as the first, both teams playing some outstanding hockey and testing the opposition on many occasions. The period was however broken up with a raft of penalty calls as neither team managed to gain the upper hand, and indeed at the 40 minute mark neither the Pirates nor the Phantoms had found the back of the net.

The third period commenced with the Pirates on a 4-on-3 advantage. Just as penalties to Tom Stubley and Callum Buglass expired to bring the game to 5-on-4, Chamberlain found himself in space directly in front of Marr and proceeded to shovel the puck high over the shoulder of the despairing Phantoms goaltender, doubling the Pirates’ lead inside the opening minute of the period.

The home side continued to exert pressure on the Phantoms net, but found themselves back to a one-goal lead when Thomas Norton finally found a way past Smith after 46 minutes. Unfazed, the Pirates responded immediately. Lee Bonner carried the puck well and dished a perfect pass to Sam Towner, who’s shot slipped past Marr to restore the Pirates’ 2 goal lead a mere 42 seconds after conceding.

Just two minutes later and the Pirates had a forth. A Phantoms turnover in their own zone was punished as Bonner intercepted the puck and slammed past Marr, giving the home team a 4-1 lead with 10 minutes to play.

The visitors continued to test the Pirates defence, forcing some last-ditch blocks as well as drawing Smith into save after save. Smith’s resilience was eventually broken again after 57 minutes when a shot from Alexis Paledek slipped under the young goalie to bring the score to 4-2.

With Marr skating to the bench in favour of the extra attacker, the Phantoms desperately threw everything at the Pirates’ net. However, the home side held on for a well deserved win and 2 points, which launched them up to fourth in the league.

Man Of The Match Awards:-

Peterborough Phantoms – #17 James Ferrara

Hull Pirates – #9 David Norris

Author: Greig Cardwell – Hull Pirates Media Partner


Preview – Peterborough Phantoms double header weekend!

Last week offered 4 vital points in 2 incredibly tough games.  Playing short benched and against gritty well organised teams was never going to be easy, but the hard work of the staff and players paid dividends. 

Onto this weekend and it is a double header against Peterborough.  We travel down to them on Saturday before they make the journey to us on Sunday. 

Having played the Phantoms in the pre-season, we have some idea of what to expect. The home pre-season fixture was a physical encounter that often spilt over. This is likely to continue this weekend as both teams look to build on the respective starts to the season.

The Phantoms currently sit 3rd in the table with 13 points from 10 games.  This double header weekend is the ideal opportunity for Pirates to start climbing the table and two wins this weekend will see us leapfrog Peterborough. 

 Peterborough have conceded the fewest goals so far this season with just 25 in 10 games.  This will be of no shock to Hull fans who saw Jordan Marr play in the early days of the Pirates and showed his quality throughout that time.  His 91.34% record this season shows no signs he has lost anything from his game.  The defence is bolstered at the back by Hull lad Scott Robson who adds experience to this defensive unit.

Offensively points have been spread amongst many players. Petr Stepanek leads goals and points with 8 goals and 5 assists for 13 points. He has been ably assisted by the other import Ales Padelek who has 6 goals and 5 assists for 11 points. Alongside these two players you have James Ferrara, Martin Susters and Will Weldon all with at least a point a game so far.  The risky strategy of signing all of last years roster again for this season looks like it is paying dividends as the Phantoms look to be a picture of consistency.

Pirates have started to make some changes given the statement made by owner Shane Smith the previous week. Sisslanikovs has departed after showing glimpses of some ability, but ultimately failing to make the impact he could or should have done. 

In comes the elite league player David Norris who looks to have very different style of play. He appears to have some good size and scored just under a point per game at elite level in an average MK lightning side.  Listening to some of the MK fans they are gutted to see him in green and black this season and not their own colours.  Lets hope this new import and a new style of player lifts us even further up the league!

Author: Dave Heath