NIHL National – Newcomers Leeds Chiefs wait for first win but Hull Pirates unbeaten at top

PUSHING ON: Leeds Chiefs' Chris Sykes tries to get some offence going against Bracknell.  Picture courtesy of Kevin Slyfield.
PUSHING ON: Leeds Chiefs' Chris Sykes tries to get some offence going against Bracknell. Picture courtesy of Kevin Slyfield.
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LEEDS CHIEFS’ wait for a first-ever win continues after back-to-back defeats extended their losing streak to four games.

READ MORE – Sheffield Steeldogs 5 Hull Pirates 7 - Hat-trick hero Hewitt leads Pirates to the top

Sam Zajac had blasted his side after a late collapse saw them lose out 8-4 at Milton Keynes Lightning on Saturday night.

But he got the response he was looking for 24 hours later at Bracknell Bees, although the Chiefs came up agonisingly short in a 4-3 loss.

Radek Meidl added to the two he scored against former club Lightning the previous evening with another double at Bracknell, who had gone into a 2-0 lead inside eight minutes through strikes from Roman Malinik and Josh Ealey-Newman.

READ MORE - MK Lightning 8 Leeds Chiefs 4: Frustration grows for coach Sam Zajac

Sheffield Steeldogs' Kieran Brown is denied by Hull Pirates' goalie Ashley Smith. ''Picture courtesy of Cerys Molloy

Sheffield Steeldogs' Kieran Brown is denied by Hull Pirates' goalie Ashley Smith. ''Picture courtesy of Cerys Molloy

Meidl’s first at 11.43 halved the deficit, with his second coming at 36.01, sandwiched between Bees goals from Zac Milton and Ryan Webb.

James Archer made it a one-goal game again with four minutes remaining, but that was as close as Leeds could get.

““Overall it’s been a tough weekend, but for around 110 minutes we played good, hard, structured hockey,” said Zajac.

“There were 10 or so minutes on Saturday where we got away from our identity and it cost us.

I saw enough to suggest that we’re still building in the right direction, and that Saturday was a bump in the road rather than a massive regression.

Leeds Chiefs’ plauyer-coach, Sam Zajac.

“We spoke at length after Saturday, about the areas that we needed to address and I think the boys responded in the right way with a dominant performance tonight.

“I saw enough to suggest that we’re still building in the right direction, and that Saturday was a bump in the road rather than a massive regression.”

Sheffield Steeldogs recovered from a 7-5 defeat to Hull Pirates on Saturday with a 4-1 win against Raiders.

The win – courtesy of goals from Alex Graham, Vladimir Luka and Nathan Salem – moved Ben Morgan’s team up to fourth and level on points with leaders Hull, as well as Telford Tigers and Swindon Wildcats.

On Saturday, the Steeldogs came off second-best despite going 2-0 ahead inside the first three minutes through Cam Brownley and Jan Danecek.

Hull were level within a minute however, Bobby Chamberlain halving the deficit before player-coach Jason Hewitt levelled.

A power play strike from Nathan Salem against his former club restored the hosts’ advantage before Peter Fabus levelled, Tim Smith then restoring the home side’s lead at 17.55.

A Hewitt piledriver levelled matters yet again and, once the Pirates went ahead for the first time through Olegs Sislannikovs, it was a lead they held, Josh Gent making it 6-4 at 37.19.

The Steeldogs got it back to within one through Luka with 63 seconds left, but Hewitt sealed the points and completed his hat-trick with an empty net strike.

In NIHL North Two, Bradford Bulldogs remain top with four wins from five, their latest triumph coming in a 7-2 win over Telford Tigers.

Goals from Matthew Barlow, David Williams and Joshua Stockton saw the hosts race into a 3-0 first-period lead before Ben Washburn answered for the Tigers on the power play in the 28th minute.

A power play strike of their own - from the stick of Tomas Mitrik - restored the three-goal advantage for the Bulldogs, who made it 5-1 with Stockton’s second in the 35th minute.

Oliver Hunt lit the lamp for a second time for Telford at 41.31 but Bradford closed the game out for a comfortable win with further strikes from Alex Mitchell and Connor Medley.