NIHL Review: Hull Pirates stay in touch with leaders Sheffield Steeldogs

Hull Pirates.
Hull Pirates.
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SHEFFIELD STEELDOGS enjoyed a perfect four-point weekend, but remain locked in a NIHL North One title battle with Yorkshire rivals Hull Pirates.

Ben Morgan's side completed the double over Solway Sharks when they followed up Saturday night's 6-2 road win by returning home to see off the same opponents 4-2 at Ice Sheffield.

But Hull Pirates remain determined to take their battle for the title all the way, when a 9-0 win over second-bottom Nottingham Lions - worth four points due to a postponed match earlier this season - saw them remain three points adrift of the Steeldogs, with a game in hand and three clashes between the two sides still to come.

Sam Towner and Bobby Chamberlain led the way for the Pirates by grabbing two apiece, with James Chilcott, player-coach Jason Hewitt, Lee Bonner, Matty Davies and Josh Gent also getting in on the act.

The Steeldogs were made to work hard for their win on home ice against Solway, only making it a four-point weekend when they plundered three goals in the last four minutes.

The hosts had taken a 13th-minute lead through Milan Kolena, only for the Sharks to level two minutes later via Duncan Speirs who, after a goalless second period, gave his team the lead early on in the third.

But, cometh the hour, cometh the player-coach, when Morgan delivered a timely equaliser on the powerplay at 56.52. Just over two minutes later, James Spurr put the Steeldogs ahead, before the points were made safe when Spurr added his second with an empty-net strike.

On Saturday, after a goalless first period, the deadlock was broken early in the second through Steeldogs' Adrian Palak and, just after the halfway mark, the visitors were 3-0 ahead thanks to further strikes from Ashley Calvert - on the powerplay - and Lloyd Gibson.

The lead was increased further just before the end of the period when Cameron Brownley recorded a shorthand marker, the leaders stretching the lead to 5-0 early in the third through a Palak powerplay strike at 43.43.

The Sharks got on the board in the 46th minute through Speirs, although the Steeldogs were able to restore their five-goal advantage through Kolena at 53.21. The Sharks hit back quickly just under two minutes later through Struan Tonnar, but that was as close as they got.