The Sens travelled to Altrincham on the back of an outstanding performance in Deeside the previous weekend, having made a real statement of intent with an impressive 23-1 victory.
Combining some of the best young talent with experienced Sens players, the team were ready to take on the much fancied Altrincham Aces.
The first period began with the Sens bringing an impressive amount of speed and energy into the game, overrunning the Aces for much of the first period and consistently controlled the game. The Aces found much relief in the form of Declan Ryan, who made a succession of saves to deny the Sens. At the halfway point of the 1st period, the Aces found some traction in attack following a Powerplay. The Sens defended resiliently on the Penalty kill, including a further kill at 13 mins and began to retake the initiative from there. At the 15 minute mark the Sens found a way through, capitalising on a Powerplay to get the go ahead goal. The Sens showed real composure during the powerplay, maximising the additional space to create a well worked shot up from point. Sens traffic in front from Josh Aheran denied the Aces keeper the chance to keep the Sens at bay, with a deft tip from the young Aheran from a Shaun Wild shot from point. The period ended with the Sens heading in with a one goal lead and the best of the play.
The 2nd period was a more even affair, with the Aces clearly recognising the need to respond. The game became much more physical, with the Aces looking to dampen the ever-present speed and intensity from the Sens. The Sens continued to force the issue, with numerous excellent scoring opportunities being denied by the Aces keeper. At the other end, Mark Hartley continued to show his skills and experience, denying the Aces whenever called upon.
The scoreline remained the same until the final 40 seconds, where the Aces found some fortune with a shot from point that managed to creep it’s way in through a mass of traffic in front of goal with Hartley totally unsighted. The goal was arguably against the run of play and buoyed the Aces as the period closed, with the Sens consistent attacking prowess being countered by some excellent Aces goalkeeping.
The 3rd period began with the Sens demonstrating that a shift of momentum was not going to take place, following the late equaliser in the 2nd. The intensity displayed remained and the Aces found themselves on the back of relentless attacking pressure from the Sens. As the period progressed, each team began to find space to attack, with the mid-way point seeing a spell of end-to-end play that challenged each team defensively and put fitness levels to the test. The Sens continued to be frustrated, having created the best of the scoring opportunities throughout the game, and found themselves with a real test of character as the Aces found the way ahead on 57 mins, with a wide shot from a face-off creeping past the Sens keeper. The goal, late in the period again and against the run of play, could have been a hammer blow to Sens morale after such an impressive performance. This was clearly not evident, as the Sens re-doubled their efforts and turned the screw on the Aces defence. A Powerplay opportunity presented itself shortly after the Aces goal, with the Sens pressure forcing a panicked delay of game penalty from the Aces. Keen to make this opportunity and the final minutes count, the Sens began the powerplay in blistering form, with a combination of quick, incisive passes being clinically finished by Shaun Wild for this second of the game. A jubilant Sens saw their hard-work rewarded with a late equaliser to take a point and force overtime.
The newly formatted overtime began with the Sens playing composed and smart hockey, controlling the opening 2 minutes. The Aces would have the last say though, with Jakub Hasek making the most of the open ice from 3 on 3, driving wide and firing a shot in to win the game. After some deliberation as to whether the puck actually went in the net, the referee awarded the goal and the OT win to the Aces.
The Sens can take heart from an excellent performance against one of the early favourites for the top spots after signing various players from across the league. Impressive in attack and tireless work ethic showcased the Sens qualities and also the potential to come over the coming games. The Sens will feel frustration in the form of Dec Ryan’s MOTM performance, which saw him regularly keep the Aces in a game the Sens can feel they deserved much more goals from. The shots on goal tallies didn’t do justice to the actual quality of the shots that where had by the Sens, with many coming from in the prime scoring areas. The Sens now look forward to a double header weekend, taking away a point against a team that will not lose many in their own barn and an abundance of positives from the game.
MOTM for the Sens went to Shaun Wild, for his impressive defensive performance combined with attacking prowess, scoring one and assisting another. The Sens shield went to Tom Proctor, for his tireless effort and unrelenting attacks upon the Aces defence.
SOG – Harltey 51/3 – 94.12%
Shaun Wild – 1+1 Joshua Aheran 1+0 Tom Proctor & Elliott Knell – 0+1