Shootout Success for Buccs

On Sunday 26th May, the Buccaneers welcomed the table-topping Shropshire Huskies to Blackburn Arena for a clash where one teams unbeaten league run would come to an end.

The first period was very tight with neither team willing to give an inch in the opening exchanges. The visitors definitely started the game the stronger of the two teams though with Harrison in the Buccs goal facing 21 shots in the opening period versus just 9 on Hyatt at the other end. Despite the shots raining in, Harrison stood tall and the teams went in scoreless at the break.

It would take a powerplay goal to separate the teams and with Duxbury sitting two minutes for holding, Huskies captain Gray fired past Harrison to open the scoring. The Buccs quickly retaliated with a powerplay goal of their own, Tommy Smith firing in from the point whilst Ford looked on from the Huskies penalty box.

As the second period came to a close, the teams exchanged quick goals. Nickless looked like he’d secured a one goal lead going into the second period break however the Buccs fired back quickly with Callum Rose bagging his first Buccaneers goal with assists from Frewin and Burns.

The respective team-talks in the changing rooms were likely very similar. At 2-2, both teams would want to start the period strong and not concede any early goals. That was out of the window quickly though as Gray found himself wide open in the slot and a simple pass from Eadsen left an open goal for the Huskies to take the lead just 40 seconds into the final period. Then less than a minute later, some smart puck movement on the powerplay from Burns and Smith found Michael Walsh wide open on the point and he rifled a slapshot past Hyatt to level the scores.

Yet another Huskies penalty saw the Buccaneers powerplay go back to work and this time Walsh turned provider for Smith and he fired a high shot through traffic straight into the back of the net to put the home side in front for the first time in the game.

The teams battled hard with both netminders making a string of fine saves. With time running down to under five minutes left, O’Neill carried the puck over the Buccs blue line and fired an early shot that caught Harrison off-guard to level the game at 4-4.

A late Huskies penalty saw the Buccaneers finish the game on the man advantage but despite countless shots, the deadlock could not be broken and the teams headed for a best of three shootout with a well-deserved point each guaranteed.

The Buccaneers won the centre-ice rock/paper/scissors battle and elected to shoot first. Captain Walsh stepped up and deked around Hyatt to take the lead.

Nickless for the Huskies levelled the scores with a quick shot past Harrison.

Saves from Hyatt denied Thomson and Smith for the Buccaneers whilst at the other end, Harrison stood firm against Gray with the post coming to the rescue to prevent Garbett winning it for the Huskies.

Sudden death began with Buccs assistant captain Paul Burns. He fired low and hard to score and put all the pressure on O’Neill. A huge save from Harrison secured the win for the Buccaneers and the MVP award for himself.

The Buccs return to action this Sunday, welcoming Sheffield Ice Tigers to Blackburn. Faceoff at 4.45pm, entry is free!