While the first goal was scored by the Gryphons in the first period, the Wildcats used both the resultant motivation and intense prior training to keep the pressure on. After a successful penalty kill (Nilsen #50 – penalty for roughing) with no goals scored thanks to a disciplined demonstration of a tight box, the Wildcats headed into the second period with a 2-2 tie, both goals scored by Ngan #66, assisted by Walker #48.
Only ten seconds after the puck dropped in the second, Ngan #66 scored a beautiful bar down unassisted goal for his first hat trick of the game, rallying the Wildcats with a full bench Celly. Only minutes after the spectator’s hats had been cleared off the ice, Ngan #66 scored again, this time assisted by both Walker #48 and our very own alumni Gubbins #25, once again playing for the Wildcats after a brief hiatus. The Wildcats played strongly for the rest of the second and maintained a 4-3 lead, until the Gryphons scored late in the second after a hard-fought battle for their fourth well-earned goal.
Heading into the third with a 4-4 tie both teams were eager to secure the lead. With ten minutes of penalties in this period alone, all players were pushing to the limit. The Gryphons scored early but Ngan #66 answered with his fifth goal of the game assisted by Nilsen #46 during the power play (Kime #29 – Leeds penalty for crosscheck). Late in the third period, Gryphons were leading 7-5. With only five minutes left on the clock, Ngan #66 assisted by Gubbins #25, scored his second hat trick of the game, bringing the score up to 7-6 Gryphons. With mere seconds left on the clock, Nilsen #84, with a telepathic assist by Nilsen #46 that can only be explained by familial connection, scored the final goal of the game to secure the tie 7-7.
Unsurprisingly from a game with nearly an entire period worth of penalty minutes, there were some good nominations for Dick of the Day. Bialik #53 for breaking a stick kindly donated by the kit cupboard, and Jones #75 for pushing a Gryphon into our beloved goalie Bridgman #22 and subsequently breaking his goalie stick. Ultimately DOTD went to Millar #7, for being so enthralled in the best game in world that they didn’t realise the 4:59 left on the clock was for the inter-period break, and not the time left in the second period.
Ending on a positive however, Player of the Day went to Ngan #66 for their double hat trick, and special thanks goes out to our goalie Bridgman #22 for giving us the 7-7 tie despite being outshot 50-35.
Man of the match: Bob (Ngan) Cheuk Long
Dick of the day: David Millar
Match report by David Millar
With an added advantage of playing on home turf and with a full team, the Gryphons took an early lead scoring four goals in the first period. The Wildcats populated the defensive zone, and with all hands on deck attempted to reduce pressure on the goaltender Ben Bridgman. The Wildcats successfully made a number of escapes into the neutral zone before being overwhelmed by the Gryphons' incredible agility.
Despite a demising start, the Wildcats developed a better understanding of each other and the tactics employed by the Gryphons as the game progressed. In the second period, the defensive team worked in tandem to cover the net and mark the opposing player, which frequently left the opposition in a less fortunate position than in the first period whilst the forwards advanced up the ice at every opportunity. Ian Hope took a two-minute penalty for tripping which left the Wildcats vulnerable but not defeated. The Wildcats took control of the situation and opted to defend the goal with just four players and with a remarkable effort from Ben, only a single goal was awarded in the second period.
A tiring team showed no slowing down in the third period. Whilst the Gryphons waned, the Wildcats fought on, pushing the puck into the attack zone at every opportunity. Despite several shots on the goal, the Gryphons goaltender did not give. The Gryphons scored a further three goals but with offensive tactics including slashing and hooking which saw them penalised. The concluding score was 8-0 to the Leeds Gryphons. Despite defeat, this was a game that did not dishearten the Wildcats. Instead, the game has shown areas for improvement and solidified the importance of Wildcat solidarity.
Man of the match: Rob Harris
Dick of the day: Ian Hope
Match report by Ian Hope.