Sens first game of the seasons was a road trip to Deeside to face off against the newly formed NIHL 2 team in what would be an unknown quantity. Sens had not managed to fit in any pre-seasons games with a lack of ice time and holidays playing their part and so they were hoping to shake off any off-season rustiness quickly and put on a good performance.
With the same core of players as last seasons, plus a few new additions with Joel Aheran returning and more under 18’s and 20’s stepping up Sens knew they have the ability to compete in the league this season.
Deeside is always a tricky place to play and a quick start is always what is needed and this is just what happened when after just 25 seconds the first goal of the game was on the board with Tom Proctor scoring the first of his goals for the evening. Sens continued to dominate the play and were finding their feet, having nearly all of the possession and zone time, but it wasn’t until 8 minutes when a second goal came with Lewis Otley finishing his chance nicely. 3 more goals continued the trend with Elliott Knell, Ryan Fraley getting on the scoresheet and Tom Proctor getting his second meaning the Sens went into the break 5-0 to the good.
The second period continued exactly where the first left off with goals now starting to come at regular intervals, starting with Nathan Britton on 21:40 and a further 8 goals followed; Tom Proctor taking his total to 5, Tom Humphries scoring 2, John-Henry Walker scoring his first goal after a long lay-off with an injury, Elliott Knell scoring his second and youngster Tyler Nixon in his first senior game scoring his first goal. Sens totally dominated the period outshooting Deeside 41-9 and in truth the scoreline could have been much worse for Deeside with some good chances being missed and some good stops from Charles Perry in the net. The period ended 14-0 with Sens not really getting out of first gear.
The third period saw a change in the Deeside net with the young Tegan Lavery taking up her position in between the pipes but it did not start too well as just 27 seconds in Joel Aheran scored his first since returning to finally get on the scoresheet after many missed opportunities. Another 8 goals followed with Aheran getting his second, Elliott Knell another two, Tom Proctor for his double hat-trick, Nathan Britton grabbing a second, Matt Wain with one and Tyler Nixon completing his hat-trick. Deeside did manage to get on the scoresheet and spoil the night for Mark Hartley with a spin shot from the blue-line hitting the post and sneaking in through traffic with just two minutes left. The scoreboard was not troubled again with the game ending 23-1, Deeside being outshot 98-20 in total.
All in all a successful run-out in the first game of the year in what turned out to be a good chance to get some match fitness and integrate all of the young players to the team and get some valuable ice time. Sens still have a few players to come back from holiday, missing with work and can hopefully build on this game and take it forward to what should be a much tougher test in Altrincham next Sunday.
With coach Andrew Chapman missing, Olly Knell was in charge and had this to say about the game “I was happy with the way the guys played today and it was good to get everyone a run out. We weren’t sure what the Deeside team would be like and prepared for this game as we would any other so it was nice to see everyone work hard and achieve the scoreline. It was unfortunate to concede the 1 goal right at the end, but I hope we can carry this on for next week’s game and the rest of the season”
Elliott Knell – 4+8 Tom Proctor – 6+2 Joel Aheran & Tom Humphries – 2+4
Ryan Fraley & Lewis Otley – 1+3 Nathan Britton 2+2 Joshua Aheran & Shaun Wild – 0+3
Tyler Nixon – 3+0 Matt Wain – 1+2 Jordan Martin & Sam Rodgers – 0+2
John-Henry Walker – 1+1 Arran Bell – 0+1
Mark Hartley 20/1 – 95.00%
MOTM – Tyler Nixon
Sens Shield – Joel Aheran