Weekend Review – Leeds Chiefs up and running as Sheffield Steeldogs edge out Hull Pirates

ON TARGET: Adam Barnes scored a hat-trick for Leeds Chiefs in a 4-0 win at Riaders IHC. Picture courtesy of Steve Brodie.
ON TARGET: Adam Barnes scored a hat-trick for Leeds Chiefs in a 4-0 win at Riaders IHC. Picture courtesy of Steve Brodie.
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THERE were many historic firsts to be had for Leeds Chiefs from their Sunday trip to Raiders IHC.

Most satisfying of all to Sam Zajac’s group will have been their first-ever win – a comprehensive 4-0 triumph – coupled with it being their first-ever shut-out.

NO WAY THROUGH: Sam Gospel 'recorded his first-ever shutout for Leeds Chiefs in the 4-0 win at Raiders IHC. 'Picture: Steve Brodie

NO WAY THROUGH: Sam Gospel 'recorded his first-ever shutout for Leeds Chiefs in the 4-0 win at Raiders IHC. 'Picture: Steve Brodie

Add to that a first-ever hat-trick – courtesy of forward Adam Barnes – and it all added up to a pleasant journey home up the M1.

It was Barnes who got things up and running for the visitors with 16.56 on the board.

A goalless second period followed but the Chiefs were quick to double their lead in the third when Barnes grabbed his second at 41.29, making it 3-0 just under 10 minutes later.

James Archer made it 4-0 on the power play at 55.100 – assisted by that man Barnes.

All the boys were fantastic but, to be honest, from the first day in they’ve all done what we’ve asked of them and it’s great to see it all finally bear fruit.

Leeds Chiefs’ player-coach, Sam Zajac

“It’s been a long time coming but that makes this all the sweeter,” said player-coach Zajac. “All the boys were fantastic but, to be honest, from the first day in they’ve all done what we’ve asked of them and it’s great to see it all finally bear fruit.

“We came out and had a great first 10 minutes, really set the tone and pressured them all over the ice and didn’t let them settle into their game.

“Credit to them because they definitely caused us some problems but, fortunately, we had a little bit more tonight.”

Fierce Yorkshire rivals Hull Pirates and Sheffield Steeldogs met in East Yorkshire having both lost the previous night.

Hull went down 6-3 on the road to Swindon Wildcats, while Sheffield lost out 4-1 scoreline at home to Peterborough Phantoms.

It all added up to an enticing derby and it was the visitors who edged it, extending their hosts’ losing streak to four games with a thrilling 8-7 triumph.

One had to have sympathy for Pirates’ Lee Bonner, though, who finished on the losing side despite scoring four goals.

Sheffield raced into a 4-1 lead through strikes from Vladimir Luka, Ashley Calvert, James Spurr and Alex Graham.

But goals either side of the period break from Bonner – added to his 14th-minute strike – made it 4-3, only for Nathan Salem to extend the visitors’ lead against his former club.

Bonner struck his fourth to make it a one-goal game again but the Steeldogs went in 7-4 ahead through efforts from Graham and Jane Danecek.

The Pirates then staged a remarkable third period comeback, drawing level through two from Olegs Sislannikovs either side of a Jonathan Kirk strike.

But there was a sting in the tail for the hosts when, just 18 seconds after they had levelled, Salem struck his second of the night to seal both points for the visitors.