Double Delight for Buccs in Sheffield

Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th May saw the Buccaneers open their Summer Classic campaign with a double-header in Sheffield taking on the Sheffield Mavericks on Saturday before facing the Sheffield Ice Tigers on Sunday. Two wins meant the Buccs headed back over the Pennines with 4 points and a 100% start.

The opening game against the Mavericks was an extremely close affair and the first period started exactly as the game would go on with both teams playing well but having limited clear-cut chances thanks to some good defending.
Just before the buzzer went for the end of the first period, Walsh carried the puck deep into the Mavericks zone and found Thomson in space in the slot. The initial shot was saved Renzi but the rebound was pounced on by Fogarty for his first goal in his second stint as a Buccaneer.

The Buccs took that momentum into the second period and an early face-off in the Mavericks zone was won and Burns played the puck back to Walsh on the point who fired home to give the Buccs a two goal lead.
The Mavericks were far from out of the contest though and continued to threaten the visitors goal. Harrison managed to see off all comers until mid-way through the second when Wilson got the Mavericks on the board.
An unsportsmanlike conduct call saw Scaife in the box and the Buccs on the powerplay. In an almost carbon copy of the opening goal, Walsh carried the puck behind Renzi’s goal and found Fogarty free in the slot. He made no mistake and restored the 2 goal advantage with his second of the game.

With 10 minutes to go, Duckenfield pulled the home side back to within one. This brought on a nervy finish but the Buccs hung on and took the win.

MVPs deservedly went to the netminders of both teams, Renzi for the Mavericks and Harrison for the Buccaneers.

The Swashbuckler Award for Players Player of the Game went to Luke Jiggins. Jiggins faces another unfortunate spell on the sidelines after suffering a painful knee injury in the third period.

Buccs D-man Chris Beesley gave his thoughts on the game.

A tough test for us against a well organised Mavericks side with a noisy home crowd. We put in a real team performance, in particular defensively, and came with – even though it was the first game of our cup run – a really important result

Post-game, the majority of the Buccaneers headed into Sheffield to sample some local culture in some fine eateries and drinking establishments.

The game got off to a good start for the Buccs as Walsh found Burns who’s neat finish put us in front. The lead was short-lived however and the Ice Tigers would fire back with 2 goals from Vella and Felgate to put the home side in front. With just 14 seconds left in the first period, Burns grabbed his second of the game to restore parity heading into the break.

Despite the 2 goals, the Buccs couldn’t help feeling that some legs were still in Pop World and knew that if we were to get anything from the game, we’d need to step it up a gear. That is exactly what happened as some clinical offensive play saw the Buccs take the period by four goals to nil. First it was Fogarty with back to back goals before Zak O’Boyle grabbed his first goal in Buccaneers colours. A lovely outlet pass from Longworth sent O’Boyle on his way and he fired hard over the blocker of the Ice Tigers netminder. The scoring was rounded off by Fogarty who completed a 17 minute hat trick with a laser of a shot into the roof of the net.

At 6-2 up, the Buccaneers should have comfortable in the third period but every credit to the Ice Tigers who took the game by the scruff of the neck. A goal from Clark was immediately cancelled out by a shorthanded marker, and hat-trick goal, by Burns but then a crazy four minutes saw the Ice Tigers grab 3 goals through Clark, Vella and Ackerley to pull them to within one.

With the Buccs having already used their time-out earlier in the period, cool heads were needed to ensure a complete capitulation didn’t occur. Tommy Smith exited the game in the second period after suffering a knee injury but remained on the bench. When Storey was called for a trip, Smith hauled himself back onto the ice for the powerplay. He’d been on the ice for less than a minute when he picked up the puck from Thomson and fired into the top corner of the goal.
This clearly restored confidence for the Buccaneers and whilst the Ice Tigers continued to apply pressure, the Buccs defence and particularly Harrison in goal stood firm. Final score, Ice Tigers 6-8 Buccaneers.

MVP for the Buccaneers went to Paul Burns for an all action performance which included his first ever hat-trick.

The Swashbuckler Award went to Tommy Smith for getting back on the ice whilst injured and making a vital contribution to the team.

Buccs captain Michael Walsh had this to say after the game.

Great to cap the weekend off with another win. We’ve played the Ice Tigers many times over the years and know that regardless of the score, they’ll never throw the towel in and they showed that same grit today.

We had some really big performances over the weekend, we had guys who were representing the club for the first time and they’ve slotted seamlessly into the team both on and off the ice. We’ve got a real togetherness in the group and I think to an extent that’s probably got us over the line today.

Thanks to everyone who came to support over the weekend and special thanks to Abi who help us run the bench for the two games.

To finish our weekend round-up, it’s fair to say that whilst some of the more ‘experienced’ players were regretting some Saturday night decisions on Sunday (i.e. a 4.30am finish), they can still teach the kids a thing or two when it comes to longevity. One youngster, who shall remain unnamed, had to miss a couple of shifts on Sunday ‘because he’d drank too much water’. Absolutely nothing to do with all of the booze he’d had the night before, it was the H2O that sent him over the edge. Poor soul.

We’re back in action on Sunday 26th May and it’s back to Blackburn as we welcome the Shropshire Huskies.