Hull Pirates keep pressure on top three as Leeds Chiefs find late momentum

HULL PIRATES extended their winning streak to four games by posting the second successive four-point weekend to keep up the pressure on the top three in NIHL National.

ON TARGET: Hull Pirates' player-coach Jason Hewitt scored twice in the win over Bracknell Bees. Picture courtesy of Tony Sargent.

Jason Hewitt’s side beat Bracknell Bees 4-1 on home ice last night, 24 hours after inflicting a fourth straight loss on leaders Telford Tigers in a 6-4 road win in Shropshire.

The four-point haul takes the Pirates up into fourth spot in the standings, with their home win coming courtesy of goals from Hewitt (2), Matty Davies and David Norris.

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On Saturday at St Quentin Gate, Bobby Chamberlain’s double led the way, with Norris, Davies, Lee Haywood and James Archer also getting on the scoresheet.

Leeds Chiefs kept their playoff hopes alive with a three-point weekend, getting the better of Milton Keynes Lightning 4-1 on Saturday before producing a stirring comeback 24 hours later to overturn a 5-2 deficit after two periods against second-placed Swindon Wildcats to take the game into overtime, where they lost 6-5.

Joe Coulter, Ethan Hehir, Lewis Houston and Liam Charnock were on target in Coventry against the Lightning, with goalie Sam Gospel saving 39 of the 40 shots on his goal.

In Solihull against Swindon on Sunday - the Chiefs final ‘home’ match on the road before Friday’s opening of their Elland Road rink - Steven Moore was the hat-trick hero, with Adam Barnes ending his short goal drought and Houston doubling his tally for the weekend.

“We’ve shown that in the last three games we’re a tough team to play against when everyone is going,” said Zajac. “We need to make sure we have that for the last 17 games if we are to stand a chance of making the playoffs.

Joe Coulter, on target for Leeds in the 4-1 win over Milton Keynes Lightning. Picture courtesy of Steve Brodie.

“We’re in a good place this weekend, I know Romford had a win when they beat Bracknell, but we’ve made up a little ground on them with this extra point tonight as the both lost.

“So the gap is only 10 points now and that is what we’ve got to do, just keep chipping away at those two. It’s about small steps and we’re not really looking past the next game.”

Sheffield Steeldogs endured a tough 48 hours, losing 7-4 on the road at Swindon on Saturday - James Spurr on target for the visitors - before losing 5-2 on home ice to Telford.

Ben Morgan’s side were already 5-0 down to the leaders at Ice Sheffield, before gaining some late consolation from Brady Doxey and Vladimir Luka.