Big Tasty Report
Dragons Vs Comets 11/05/2019
The Dragons picked up their first win of the Northern Rec Cup after taking a close 4-3 decision over local rivals the Cleveland Comets this past weekend. The Dragons were able to ice 3 forward lines for the game including new signing Jason Watson who made his debut whilst the Comets travelled a little lighter on numbers missing a few of their ex Billingham Stars players.
The Dragons took control of the game in the early stages spending large amount of time camped in the Comets end but struggled to get a breakthrough due to some excellent defensive work from the Comets, not to mention the familiar figure of Martin Honeyman standing tall in between the pipes. The Comets were still threatening on the counter attack with the line of Andrew Serrell, Andrew Fletcher and Josh Purvis looking dangerous every time they had the puck and forcing Dragons netminder Sam Elsom into action early. The Dragons then lost player coach Brad Armitage for the rest of the period having been injured from a hard hit into the bench door.
As the period wore on the Dragons tested the Comets defences time and time again only to be turned away at every opportunity and it was the Comets who managed to get a key breakthrough just before the end of the period. With just seconds left on the clock a quick rush saw Serrell carry the puck wide and place a picture perfect pass across the crease onto the stick of the waiting Josh Purvis who gave Elsom no chance with his finish.
The late goal deflated the Dragons and they started the second period looking sluggish with several uncharacteristically poor plays resulting in the Comets piling the pressure on. 2 minutes into the period the Comets doubled their lead and it was Purvis again doing the damage firing into an almost unguarded net after some magic from Fletcher in close on Elsom.
The Dragons injury woes were increased when John Shreeve was forced to leave the game to get his shoulder put back into place shortly followed by James Udell who left the game for treatment on an injured knee. With the Dragons finding themselves lacking bodies they desperately tried to claw themselves back into the game by upping their intensity and work ethic. That effort paid off when with, Michael Park and Sean Griffiths both sitting penalties for their respective sides, The Dragons capitalised on the extra space with Ian Greenwood firing home a rebound to bring the Wearsiders into the game.
Riding the momentum, the Dragons came right back at the Comets from the face off and Kieran Wrench found himself in trouble for interference putting the Dragons on a rare 4 on 3 powerplay. John Shreeve, having retuned to the bench moments earlier, found himself in the perfect place to fire home the Dragons equaliser after some great work from Mark Foster down low. The game then almost erupted when Dragons forward slashed the glove of Honeyman after he covered the puck and Sean Griffiths decided to drop the gloves and attack Atkinson from behind. The ensuing scuffle saw both Atkinson and Griffiths taking a seat for 4 minutes for their part in the melee.
The open space again proved to work in the Dragons favour with James Udell, having also just returned to the game, stepped off the bench and blasted an unstoppable shot through the shaken up Honeyman to give the Dragons their first lead of the game. With momentum swinging fully in the Dragons favour the Comets needed a response and found it when sniper Andrew Fletcher was afforded a little too much time in the Durham zone and unleashed a laser like shot into the top corner to bring the Comets level again.
The third period began with the Comets finding themselves in penalty trouble again, this time former Dragon Andrew Serrell taking a seat for delay of the game. The Dragons couldn’t find a way through on the power play but just a few seconds after the sides were back to full strength, Michael Park unleashed a low shot from close range that gave Honeyman no chance and gave the Dragons the lead once again. Chances came and went at both ends, most notably Sam Elsom getting a pad on a Fletcher breakaway attempt, before the penalties began once again. Comets captain Peter Johnson and Dragons winger both found themselves sitting for cross checking minors at the 48-minute mark, the latter leaving the Comets player in a heap on the ice aswell as netminder Honeyman taking a misconduct. The Comets protested the penalties at length and after a delay the game once again got underway only for Dragons defenceman Sean Croft to take an interference penalty seconds into the poweplay to put the sides back to 4 on 4. After a disputed offside for the Comets once again lead to a lengthy delay as they took up their case with the officials, Comets winger Scott Williams got into it in front of the Dragons bench with Ian Greenwood, both of whom were both to escape without further penalties. At the 53.23-mark Scott Williams then found himself in trouble, taking a 10 minute misconduct for directing some words to the officials. At that point the referees called the game with the ice time slot about to expire leaving both teams confused as to what had just taken place.
The result standing at 4-3 gives the Dragons their first win of the campaign having opened their account with a point against local rivals the Whitley Islanders a few weeks earlier. Man of the Match honours went to Dragons Defenceman Ian Spraggon and Comets netminder Martin Honeyman. Dragons grinder award went to debutant Jay Watson who was solid throughout the contest for his new club.