On Saturday 2nd April, the Buccaneers made the trip down the M62 to take on Summer Classic rivals, Kingston City Knights. Kingston had sent a strong message to other teams in the competition with two convincing victories over the Sheffield Ice Tigers so the Buccaneers knew they were going to be in for a tough game.
The puck dropped at 17.15 in front of a crowd of just short of 100 and the Buccaneers enjoyed some time in the Knights zone straight from the off. However it would be the Knights who struck first as the puck fell to Luke Picken in the slot and he made no mistake firing through the 5-hole of Rob Tomlin in the visitors goal, Andrew Stansfield picking up the assist.
This kicked the Buccaneers into life and less than a minute later they were level, player coach Adam Dadswell with an unassisted effort.
As the end of the first approached, the Knights found themselves in penalty trouble with Joseph Thomas and then Luke Picken both picking up tripping minors within 30 seconds of each other to leave the Buccaneers with a 2-man advantage. The visitors had moved the puck well all period and made no hesitation in taking advantage of the extra space on the ice. First it was Mark Higson on 16.51 and then Matt Duncan from Mark Jenkins making it a powerplay double on 17.49. The Buccaneers headed back to the changing rooms at the end of the first with a 3-1 lead.
The message from Dadswell in the period break was ‘more of the same’ and that’s exactly what the Buccaneers did less than 2 minutes into the period with captain Michael Walsh carrying the puck into the Knights’ zone and firing a slapshot past Miller. With the game potentially slipping out of reach, the Knights rallied back. The Buccaneers defence were slow to pick up a rebound after a good first save from Tomlin and Ross Naylor fired into the gaping goal to cut the deficit to 2.
Not to be deterred, the Buccaneers stuck at the task and hit the Knights hard with a flurry of goals. First it was Mark Jenkins who despite not making a clean contact on the shot, fired a one-timer over the glove of the Knights goalie. 52 seconds later, Adam Bolton struck for the Buccaneers with arguably the goal of the game. The puck was carried into the Knights zone and he pulled a fine deke on the D-man to leave himself with a clear route to goal and he made no mistake putting the puck in the back of the net. Just another 51 seconds had ticked by on the clock before the puck was in the back of the Knights net again, Adam Dadswell picking up his second of the game.
The Knights had gone from being more than in the game to having a mountain to climb in the space of three minutes and after Miller had pulled himself from the Knights’ goal to be replaced by Rolands Puspurs, the Buccaneers looked to kill the game off. Sustained pressure in the Knights’ zone resulted in Matt Duncan picking up his second of the game and then shortly after making it a hat-trick as he fired another past Puspurs. Another tripping minor for Thomas put the Buccaneers on the powerplay for the last 2 minutes of the period and Dadswell was there to take advantage again, completing a hat-trick of his own and capping a 7-goal period for the Buccaneers.
The final period got underway and the Knights were clearly keen to make amends for the 2nd period collapse coming out of the blocks hard and fast. Peter Shaughnessy notching an unassisted marker at 43.19. Then it was Kieran Hagger picking up a goal with a fantastic solo effort rounding Walsh in the Buccaneers defence and firing high over the shoulder of Tomlin.
It took until the half way point of the third period before either goal was breached again and it was the Buccaneers who were to light the lamp. Carl Price picked up the puck in the slot and fired a hard shot over the glove of Miller who had returned to the crease for the third period. Less than 3 minutes later the Buccs struck again, Walsh firing a hard shot from the point and the puck popped out to Adam Dadswell who slotted into the open goal for his fourth and the Buccaneers twelfth. With 3 minutes left on the clock, Stansfield was assessed a tripping minor for the Knights putting the Buccs back on the powerplay. The puck was moved neatly around the zone with all 5 players getting a touch before Price fired cross-ice to Higson who was left with a gaping goal. However he surprised everyone by slotting the puck over to Dadswell who made it 5 on the night for himself and the fourth for a devastating Buccaneers powerplay unit.
The final buzzer sounded and the Buccaneers were 13-4 winners. With a hat-trick and an assist, the Buccaneers MVP was Matt Duncan and he had this to say after the game:
We broke out of our zone effectively and forced plenty of turnovers when we didn’t have the puck. We had some great team morale in the changing room which helped boost the confidence of the players.
We also asked coach Adam Dadswell for his thoughts on the team’s performance:
The boys came out and played a fantastic game. We played strong, both on the attack and at the back defensively. Concentrating and focussing on playing our own game and playing confidently really payed off. We kept our cool, played smart hockey and reaped the rewards – a great way for us to start our league campaign
- Dadswell 5+0
- Duncan 3+1
- Higson 1+1
- Walsh 1+1
- Jenkins 1+1
- Bolton 1+0
- Price 1+0
- Ballinger 2mins
- Price 2mins
The Buccaneers are back in Summer Classic action on 17th April as they travel to Sheffield to take on the Ice Tigers. The Ice Tigers will be looking to bounce back from their losses against the Knights while the Buccaneers look to build on a positive start to the campaign.
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