On 19th May, the Buccaneers crossed the Pennines to take on the Sheffield Mavericks in only the third ever meeting between the two clubs. Both games last season were close affairs and both teams were looking forward to renewing rivalries.
The puck dropped and despite some early pressure from the Buccs, it was the Mavericks who were on the board first. Mallon set up Duckenfield who made no mistake in firing past Ciaran Chapman in the Buccs goal. Despite The Bucaneers getting plenty of pucks to the net in the early stages, they couldn’t find a way past Johnstone in the Mavericks goal and again the Sheffield side took advantage. Some poor defensive play from the Buccs meant a simple pass from Scaife found Taylor all lone in front of the net and he made it 2-0.
The goal seemed to rally the Buccaneers and as the period wore on, the scoring chances were becoming more meaningful and in what was a remarkable 4 and a half minutes for the visitors, they went from 2-0 down to 3-2 Patrick Thomson’s lovely snipe was followed up by 2 goals from captain Michael Walsh to give the Buccs the lead at the first interval.
The Buccs picked up right where they left off in the second period. After Beesley found Walsh with a pass, he fired a slapshot that was bravely blocked by a Mavs D-man however the puck landed right back on Walsh’s stick and he made no mistake with the second chance, firing past Johnstone to complete a natural hat-trick. Shortly after that, Raivis Apfelbaums was the end product of some nice passing between Alex Dunston and Simon Pickering. After a frantic start to the period, the scoring settled down as the Mavericks battled to get back control of the game. But it was the Buccs who got the next goal and it was Walsh again who carried the puck in deep and rounded Johnstone for his 4th of the game. Just over a minute later, Callum Greenhalgh bagged his first goal for the club with a lovely shot from another Pickering assist. Just 42 seconds ticked by before the Mavericks lamp was red again, this time it was Rob McNair who was the only player on the ice to react to a loose puck in front of the Sheffield goal. He pounced on it and produced a beautiful roofed finished to make it 8-2 Buccs.
The final period was a much quieter affair in comparison but there was still time for the Buccaneers to add two more goals to the tally. First it was Greenhalgh with a hard, yet uncharacteristic, low shot through the five-hole of Johnstone and the scoring was completed by Thomson with his second goal of the game.
It was arguably one of the most complete performances from the Buccaneers since coach Mark Higson took the reigns in August and he was visibly pleased with everyone at the final buzzer.
Mavericks – Self
Buccaneers – Walsh