The G Casino Sheffield Knights travelled to Nottingham on Saturday, for two games of league action. The Knights were battling the Timberwolves, and the Lancers were taking on the Direwolves. Despite an early start, both teams were raring and ready to go. The Knights were to face off first.
The first game began quickly for the Knights, as Joe Wait hammered home a slap shot following a faceoff win by Michael Henderson. The floodgates then opened for the remainder of the period, with Michael Henderson achieving a hat trick in his debut for the club and Carl Sutherland firing a laser from the Knights’ blue line that beat the Timberwolves goalie down low.
The second period began and the Knights began the second like they ended the first, with high intensity, putting the Timberwolves under a lot of pressure in their own zone and forcing some fantastic saves from their goalie. They found their way onto the scoreboard early once again, with a goal from Peter Butchart after just 33 seconds. The Timberwolves were not down and out yet though, and after a breakaway which resulted in a scramble in front of goal, a penalty shot was awarded and scored. As both teams pushed, Knights to increase their lead and Timberwolves to fight their way back into the game, the whistle went to signal the end of the second period, the scoreboard showing 11-1 after further goals from Ash Rose, Carl Sutherland and Aidan Paget.
Onto the third period, and the Knights were still piling the pressure on the Timberwolves. Two minutes into the period and the Knights found their way onto the scoresheet again, Aidan Paget capitalising on a good scoring opportunity for his second goal of the game. Once again, the Timberwolves continued to fight against the heavy pressure of the Knights, and a 2 on 1 in their favour led to a goal for the home side. It was not to be enough for the Timberwolves however, and as the game came to a close, the Knights took a 13-2 win. Andy Stafford was awarded the Man of the Match after displaying some of the best playmaking that the Knights have seen all season.
Following the game, head coach David Grant had this to say. “I was really pleased with the performance from the Knights, I asked them to keep on the good spirit and momentum from Newcastle and show it throughout a game and to a man they did. Missing a few people, we had to change the lines around, however I thought a fair few things clicked during the game which bodes well for the rest of the season and next.
As much as several players could have been given the MOM, I felt that was one of Stafford’s best performances in a Knights shirt, topping off what I feel is a number of solid weeks of top end work from Andy. He’s showing serious leadership in the team, and is a joy to watch on the rink.
It would be wrong of me to not mention Henderson’s performance, whom was very nervous going into his first game stepping up to the first team. To come away with a 4+3 performance demonstrated how he’s turned his form and performance around this season, to deserve a shot at the first team, here is to hoping he continues to take the chances afforded to him.”
As the Knights players left the rink, on came the Lancers for the second game of the day. This was to be a great fought game for a short benched Lancers team, who were to play with only 7 players, including Richard Cartwright taking his position between the posts. The game started unfortunately for the Lancers, with an unlucky bounce off the wall saw the ball ricochet off a Lancers defender’s foot into the back of the net. The Direwolves were up by one. The Lancers continued to resist the pressure that the Nottingham side put them under, Cartwright making some stunning saves and defenders and forwards alike throwing their bodies in the way of the ball for their club. Despite the impeccable effort from the Sheffield squad, the period came to a close with a scoreline of 2-0.
Onto the second period and the Lancers continued to throw everything they had into the game, not once showing signs of fatigue despite their short bench. As within the first period, Lancers were continuing to break down plays in their own zone and put some good pressure on the Direwolves netminder. Despite the never-ending efforts of the Lancers, the period ended with a further two goals in the advantage of the Direwolves, 4-0.
The third period began and the Lancers were still fighting to obtain the hard-fought goal that they so thoroughly deserved. Despite a couple of goals going in the favour of the Direwolves, the Lancers finally managed to hit the back of the net as Adam Cooper fired a wrist shot home after a good set up by Adam Cookson and Matty Lanchester. The game ended 6-1, and although it was in favour of the Direwolves, spirits were high reflecting the fantastic performance that the Lancers team put in. Man of the Match went to Ash Bolland who never stopped running and fighting to help his team get back in the game. “It was the best result and the best performance of the season” said Lancers captain Tom Wright. “We battled hard and did the little things right. The guys showed their potential, and with a little bit more experience under our belts I feel we can be a solid side and will start picking up wins.”
David Grant also commented on the Lancers’ result. “Given how short the bench was, I felt that it was one of the Lancers best performances, and a testament to the commitment on the day showed by the team. They stuck to a structure which gave them the best chance of creating goal scoring opportunities, and it paid off with the number of good chances they had, and had it not been for a top performance from Bolton, we would have score more than the one goal.
There’s encouraging signs for the team, and how they’re developing as individuals and as a team. I hope with the games left in this season they can continue the same spirit and battle that they showed, as I feel we’ll give themselves the best chance of retaining our status within division 2.”
As the Knights and Lancers continue to battle in the league, make sure you are keeping up to date with the scores and other news by following Sheffield Knights B.H.C on Facebook and @SheffKnights on Twitter.