Haywood’s Heroics Overcomes Resiliant Leeds Chiefs!
Lee Haywood turned overtime hero as the Smailes Goldie Hull Pirates were made to dig deep to conquer their newest Yorkshire rivals in a nine-goal encounter.
The Pirates, coming off the back of an overtime victory against Basingstoke the night prior, started the game strongest; pinning the Leeds Chiefs back in their zone for most of the opening period. Indeed the home side struck first just after 6 minutes as Lee Bonner worked the puck around the Chiefs net to find a returning Bobby Chamberlain in space, who made no mistake in striking past Sam Gospel.
In a sign of things to come, the Chiefs rallied instantly. The home team’s lead lasted a mere 33 seconds until Ethan Hehir grabbed an immediate equaliser. Both teams played out the rest of the opening 20 with strong plays and physical hockey; the best chance falling to Olegs Sislannikovs who saw his wrap-around effort saved by a diving Gospel.
As the middle period commenced, the Pirates once again took the upper hand. Kevin Phillips setting Josh Gent free on the breakaway. Gent deked and drew Gospel before slipping the puck through the Chiefs goalie’s five-hole to re-establish the home side’s lead after 22 minutes.
The visitors responded once more, controlling the game and keeping the Pirates defence on their toes. After a strong save from Ash Smith at one end, Tom Stubley found Sislannikovs with room. He proceeded to release Gent, who again got the better of Gospel and made it 3-1 on the half-hour mark.
The visitors looked shaken, with the home side creating chance after chance but unable to convert. Indeed the game turned once more when Lewis Baldwin slipped the puck past Smith just to make it a one-goal game.
This spurred the Chiefs on as they controlled the rest of the period, ringing the Pirates’ pipework on more than one occasion. As the second 20 drew to a close, Smith maintained the lead for his team with a string of consecutive, close-range saves.
The third period started with both sides aiming to gain the upper hand. The Pirates found themselves a man up once more, with Adam Barnes taking a seat in the penalty box. However, on the counter attack Radek Meidl fed former Pirate James Archer who evened the game short-handed.
The remainder of the period ebbed away, both sides creating chance after chance but denied by solid defending and goal-tending. With less than two minutes remaining, Chamberlain collected the puck near the red line, shrugged off a challenge from the Leeds defence and striking past Gospel to make it 4-3.
The visitors responded by almost immediately pulling Gospel for the extra skater, and with just 23 seconds remaining took advantage of the extra skater; Barnes scrambling the puck over the line to tie the game at the death.
Overtime commenced with the Chiefs gaining the zone. However, as the Pirates broke up ice a scramble in front of Leeds’ net saw Chamberlain slip the puck to Lee Haywood for the game winner, sealing a much needed four-point weekend for the Pirates.
Man Of The Match Awards:-
Leeds Chiefs – #31 Sam Gospel
Hull Pirates – #21 Bobby Chamberlain
Author: Greig Cardwell
-Rachel Stork Photography
-Lois Tomlinson Photography