NEVER let it be said that Leeds Chiefs like to do things the easy way.
With 16 seconds left on the clock of last night’s pulsating Yorkshire derby at Elland Road against Hull Pirates, Richard Bentham danced his way through the visitors’ lines before placing his shot into the bottom left-hand corner of Ash Smith’s net.
Cue delirious scenes among the home crowd as the defenceman dropped to one knee and fired an imaginary arrow into the stand. But, 14 seconds later, the Chiefs were the ones left completely floored, Matty Davies forcing the puck home for his second goal of the night with just 2.1 seconds on the clock.
For the second week running the Chiefs went to 3-on-3 overtime. For the second week running the Chiefs gained a man advantage and, once again, they made it count.
Bentham collected the puck from the face off and immediately switched it to the left-hand side where fellow D-man Lewis Baldwin ripped the puck through Smith for a stunning 4-3 victory.
“You score with 16 seconds left and you think that is going to do it and then for them to come back like they did with two seconds left, while not great for us is great for the spectators,” said Chiefs’ player-coach Sam Zajac.
They are a very good team, a really good team and I think the way we dug in and kind of took the initiative towards the end of the game was really pleasing to me.Leeds Chiefs’ player-coach, Sam Zajac
“It’s probably the best game I’ve played in for a long time, it was end-to-end for a full 60 minutes. They are a very good team, a really good team and I think the way we dug in and kind of took the initiative towards the end of the game was really pleasing to me.
“Off the top of my head I can’t recall a game where so much has happened in the last few seconds - that one will obviously go down in memory for a long time.
“There were some great goals tonight from both sides, great play from both sides and if every game was like that I don’t you would have a problem filling rinks around the country.”
Hull had gained the lead in the eighth minute through Davies when he followed up his initial effort to fire past Sam Gospel into the top left-hand corner for a power play goal.
The lead lasted less than a minute, however, when Patrik Valcak’s persistence paid off when he jammed the puck under Smith and over the line.
But player-coach Jason Hewitt restored the visitors lead when he was allowed to break down the middle and pick his spot at 14.47.
A goalless second period followed before the Chiefs drew level at 45.58 when Adam Barnes swivelled round to fire over Smith’s left shoulder through the narrowest of gaps. It was a dramatic moment, but nothing to match what came later on.