FOR a second time this season, Hull Pirates came out on top in an English Premier League derby against Sheffield Steeldogs.
Player-coach Dominic Osman’s side had already enjoyed the taste of victory over their Yorkshire rivals when returning from a trip to Sheffield the previous weekend on the back of a 5-4 victory.
Once again the fixture was a keenly-fought affair, with the points only being made safe by a last-minute empty-net strike from Andrej Themar, sealing a 5-3 win.
Hull had raced into a 3-0 lead just after 20 minutes through strikes from Stanislav Lascek, Themar and Nathan Salem, only for the visitors to hit back through strikes from Andrew Hirst and player-coach Greg Wood before the halfway mark.
Lee Haywood gave the hosts some welcome breathing space when he made it 4-2 at 49.50, but that was quickly gone when Wood replied just 26 seconds later to ensure some nervous moments for the Pirates before Themar’s second of the night settled matters.
It leaves Hull in third place in the early-season standings, just one point behind Telford Tigers and two behind unbeaten leaders Milton Keynes Lightning – the team responsible for the East Yorkshire club seeing their 100% start to the season ended on Saturday night.
It had started so well in Buckinghamshire when Jason Hewitt (6.17) and Osman (11.34) each scored on the powerplay.
But it was all-square at the end of the second following replies from James Robert Griffin and Leigh Jamieson before Lewis Hook put the hosts ahead on the powerplay in the 47th minute.
But two goals in as many minutes from Jonathan Kirk and Salem put the visitors ahead again, although Lightning were quick to reply through Glenn Billing at 55.05.
it wasn’t long before what proved to be the game-winning goal arrived, Milan Baranyk sealing the points for the home side at 56.53.
The Steeldogs had embarked on their trip down the M62 in good spirits after enjoying a 5-3 win over last season’s play-off and EPL Cup champions, Guildford Flames on home ice.
After going behind to a Marek Maslonka fourth-minute strike, it was a dominant second period display that won the game for Wood’s side.
Cole Shudra levelled on the powerplay at 26.17 before Pavel Mrna got the go-ahead goal just over three minutes later.
Then, two goals in the final minute of the period put the game beyond the visitors – just. Jan Krivohlavek was first to pounce on the powerplay at 39.02 before Mrna’s second followed 35 seconds later.
Guildford pulled it back to 4-3 through Matic Kralj at 53.23, but Arnoldas Bosas’s final-minute empty-net strike settled the home side’s nerves.