Leeds Chiefs stung by heavy defeat as Hull Pirates and Sheffield Steeldogs share honours

Sam Zajac shows his frustration after Bracknelkl plunder another goal on Sunday night. Picture courtesy of Kevin Slyfield.
Sam Zajac shows his frustration after Bracknelkl plunder another goal on Sunday night. Picture courtesy of Kevin Slyfield.
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SAM ZAJAC said his Leeds Chiefs team were “running on empty” after they suffered an 11-1 mauling at the hands of Bracknell Bees.

The heavy defeat, combined with others over the weekend, leaves the Chiefs 12 points adrift of the top-eight play-off places and licking their wounds on the back of a four-game losing streak.

ON TARGET: Bobby Chamberlain scored twice in Sunday night's 5-3 win agauinst Sheffield Steeldogs. Picture courtesy of Tony Sargent.

ON TARGET: Bobby Chamberlain scored twice in Sunday night's 5-3 win agauinst Sheffield Steeldogs. Picture courtesy of Tony Sargent.

Last night’s clash in Berkshire was effectively over as a contest after the first period, with the Bees rampaging into a 5-0 lead.

Chiefs’ goaltender Sam Gospel was pulled in the intermission, but replacement Miles Finney fared little better as Doug Sheppard’s side scored four more in the following 20 minutes.

Lewis Baldwin got the Chiefs on the board in the 48th minute to make it 9-1, but the Bees fired two more past the helpless Finney to complete a night to forget for the NIHL National League’s bottom club.

“We were running on empty from the first shift,” said Zajac. “We didn’t play smart and we over-exerted ourselves at the wrong times. Our lack of numbers and training really showed it’s face in the worst possible way and we never got into the game until it was way too late.

We showed (against Telford) that when we play the right way we can give any team a game. But against Bracknell we were a million miles from the team that ran Telford close in terms of our game management and compete levels.

Sam Zajac

“It’s frustrating as we showed on Saturday that when we play the right way we can give any team a game. But against Bracknell we were a million miles from the team that ran Telford close in terms of our game management and compete levels.”

On Saturday in Blackburn, the Chiefs could count themselves unlucky to come out on the wrong side of a 4-2 scoreline against leaders Telford Tigers.

Richard Bentham’s 22nd-minute strike cancelled out Andrew Mckinney’s opener for the visitors, who then struck three times in seven second period minutes to take control.

Adam Barnes tipped-in a Zajac effort at 56.23 but that was as close as the Chiefs got.

It was a case of honours even between Hull Pirates and Sheffield Steeldogs, who both made the most of home ice advantage in their eagerly-anticipated weekend double-header.

Hull took a third-minute lead at Ice Sheffield on Saturday through Bobby Chamberlain but ultimately finished second-best after the Steeldogs hit back through Jan Danecek (2) and Reece Cohrane.

On Sunday, the Pirates gained revenge in front of their own fans after falling behind to first-period goals from Scott Morris and Vladimir Luka.

David Norris halved the deficit at 22.30, before further second- period goals from player-coach Jason Hewitt (2) and Chamberlain put the hosts in control.

Alex Graham struck on the power play at 43.08 to make it 4-3, but Hull ensured both points with an empty-net strike from Chamberlain with just 17 seconds remaining.