Saturday 20th November saw the Buccaneers return to the ice for their first game in 111 days against the Bradford Ice Wolves at Bradford Ice Arena at the typically rec hockey time of 22.30.
The Buccs started the game exactly like a team that hadn’t played a game for 111 days with some sloppy plays in the defensive zone. In contrast, the Ice Wolves were quick out of the blocks and applied lots of early pressure to the Buccaneers goal which paid off after just 2 minutes as Wallace capitalized on a rebound to put them ahead.
There were chances for both teams in the period with arguably the best chance falling to Walsh who was denied on a breakaway by Honeyman in the Ice Wolves goal, pushing the backhand effort onto the post.
In the second period, it was again the Ice Wolves who started best and Ritchie doubled their lead not long after the restart. The Buccaneers were able to respond quickly though and after Hudson Nuttall picked up the puck in the neutral zone, his direct charge to the net produced a rebound that Walsh was first to, reducing the deficit to one.
A mere 14 seconds later, Bradford restored the 2 goal cushion with an exceptional tip-in goal. A point shot from Hesselwood was redirected by Mitchell past a helpless Rattray.
Despite a number of efforts on the Ice Wolves goal, the Buccaneers were struggling to make them count until Luke Savage teed up a shot for Ian McQuade Gilligan who made no mistake firing the puck past Honeyman for a goal on his club debut. Again though, the lead was relatively short-lived and Harrison notched the Ice Wolves’ 4th goal with less than a minute on the clock in the second.
Going into the third period, the Buccs needed to shift up a gear but it was the Ice Wolves who would find the crucial next goal with Gatenby finding the net 4 minutes into the period. The Buccs continued to pepper the home team’s goal but Honeyman made a string of outstanding saves to keep the Ice Wolves comfortable.
There was a small glimmer of hope for the Buccs when Matt Dixon rifled home a wrist shot but it was ultimately in vein as the clock ticked down and Bradford ran out 5-3 winners.
Wallace, Ritchie, Mitchell 1+0
Smith, Hall, Hesselwood, Schild, Hill 0+1
McQuade Gilligan 1+0
H. Nuttall 0+1
Ice Wolves: Honeyman