Sens made their first trip to Bradford, a rink that has not always been a happy hunting ground over the recent years; a combination of small ice, short bench and a well drilled Bradford team.
Only 11 players were on the teamsheet, with illness and junior games taking their toll, but the game started promisingly when after just 1:16 George Crawshaw scored to make the game 1-0 after a scramble around the net. Sens knew they had to go out hard in the first to try and take the game to Bradford early and this seemed to be working with Elliott Knell scoring 3 minutes later with a nicely taken goal. Bradford continued to work hard, playing the game that they know best, posting players up high and hoping to catch breaks. After 8 minutes a bobbling puck around the Sens net fell to Myles Dacres to slot home and make it 2-1 which is how it would stay until the end of the first. Sens were showing their intent by outshooting Bradford 21-9, but not being able to take full advantage of this.
The second started in much the same vain with more end-to-end hockey, almost a guarantee on small ice, and chances fell to both sides in the first 10 minutes. An unassisted goal with a shot from the blue line on the rush that caught Mark Hartley by surprise brought the scores back level. Then a very debatable too many men on the ice call, where the Sens players seemed to already be on the bench by the time the on-coming player had touched the puck gave Bradford a powerplay and this proved to be costly as just 17 seconds in the score was 2-3 to the home side. Not to be deterred Sens hit back almost immediately when Tom Humphries put the puck in from a tight angle to even the game up. No further goals followed and it was all to play for going into the third.
The third period was an exciting one with 5 goals scored in a hectic 2 minute period, with goals being traded back and forth. First Elliott Knell tipped a shot from Tom Humphries, and then 16 seconds later the equaliser came and just another 6 seconds later Bradford took the lead again at 5-4. Not to be deterred Elliott Knell then scored his hat-trick goal to make it 5-5 with just over 15 minutes left to play. It seemed like this exchange of goals was to continue and it did when a speculative shot took a horrible deflection, completely wrong-footing Mark Hartley and looped into the net to give Bradford the lead at 6-5. A change of lines from the Sens hoped to steady things up and bring the game back on track and although the Sens had some very good chances Bradford’s rear-guard managed to hold strong despite some nervy moments. The final score of Sens 5 – 6 Bradford.
A game that Sens will be disappointed to lose, but one in which they battled hard and never gave up even with the short amount of players and having two of the top points scorers in Joel Aheran and Tom Proctor missing. They gave everything but just didn’t quite have enough to bring home at least a point. Next week sees the Sens take on the currently unbeaten Widnes Wild which should be a cracking game to watch, Face off 19:15 Saturday 30th September.
Mark Hartley – 30/6 80.00%
Ian Thirkettle – 53/5 90.57%
Elliott Knell – 3+0 Tom Humphries – 1+1 George Crawshaw 1+0 Ryan Fraley – 0+2