The Deeside Dragons secured their first win against the Whitley Warriors, ending a seven-match losing streak against the fierce rivals. The game was a rollercoaster ride, filled with high-stakes action, jaw-dropping saves, and ultimately, a well-earned victory for the Dragons.
First Period: A Balanced Game
The first period commenced with both teams looking equally poised for a win. While the Warriors seemed more effective during power plays, they couldn’t crack the Dragon’s defence on even play. The tension was palpable as both net minders made some pivotal saves. By the end of the period, the Warriors had racked up 14 shots on goal, while the Dragons led marginally with 15.
Second Period: Croyle Steps Up
The second period saw a lack of discipline from the Dragons, giving the Warriors opportunities to control the game. Nevertheless, Dragons’ shot stopper, #39 Matt Croyle, became the hero of the period, pulling off a series of heroic saves, especially during penalty kills. In an intense skirmish, Pow from the Warriors and #22 Karl Bacon clashed in an aggressive toe-to-toe early in the period. While Bacon landed over 10 uppercuts, Pow’s height and hugging tactics saw Bacon hit the ice first. Despite the drama, the period ended 0 – 0, thanks to Croyle’s remarkable 23 saves.
Third Period: A Grand Finale
The third period began with a back-and-forth tussle between both teams, each taking turns to press. As the clock ticked down, the prospect of overtime loomed large. However, things took a turn when Dragons’ #55 Ross Kennedy was hit hard by Pow, resulting in a 2-minute penalty for interference. Seizing the moment, Coach Clancy called a timeout to strategies for the upcoming power play.
The result was electrifying. From the face-off, the Dragons demonstrated impeccable teamwork. After a blocked shot from Jesson, Ross Kennedy swiftly collected the loose puck and passed it to Andy McKinney, who set up Jesson to score, making it 1-0 for the Dragons.
Closing Moments and Victory
With less than a minute remaining, the Warriors pulled their goalkeeper in a desperate bid for an equaliser. But their gamble backfired as Dragons’ #78 Brodie Jesson seized the opportunity to fire the puck into an empty net from inside his own D-Zone, clinching a memorable victory for the Dragons.
Player of the Match: #39 Matt Croyle
Undoubtedly, the standout player of the game was Matt Croyle. His astounding 57 saves were crucial in securing the Dragons’ first win against the Warriors since their entry into the NIHL Division One North.
This match was a testament to the Dragons’ resilience, teamwork, and unwavering commitment to victory. And this time, they emerged victorious, breaking the jinx against the Whitley Warriors once and for all.
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