For the third time in four games, the Bristol Pitbulls have lost at home by a single goal. This time 5-4 to the Haringey Huskies.
Bristol started brightly and opened the scoring at 4:16, on the powerplay, through a Richie Hargreaves goal. His first of the season.
But a quick response by the Huskies a minute later through Daniel Clayton seemed to unsettle the home side. Ultimately, what would cost the home side was how long it found them to find their rhythm again. And, in that way, this game resembled a slightly higher scoring version of the Guildford game the week before.
After getting on the board, Huskies really got their tails up. Bristol still had lots of possession, but were doing little with it. Huskies on the other hand got a further two goals just 100 seconds apart to give them a lead that they perhaps could have tried to defend with a stifling road game.
Credit to Huskies, however. They continued to play a positive game. Consistently finding large empty spaces around the Bristol net. Stuart Appleby got his second of the night, Stephen Woodford then got Haringey’s fifth just 30 seconds later. We keep going on about it, but these short bursts of goals really a feature of the league this season.
Woodford will also be glad to have scored his first goal since being named September’s Player of the Month for the league.
Bristol coach Richie Hargreaves called a time-out on that fifth goal. And it did have an immediate effect. Not necessarily around Jussi Grut in the Haringey net. Bristol were still struggling to get quality chances at that end of the ice. But there was a greater level of calm around Pitbulls on the ice and it was noticeable that Haringey were struggling to find gaps on the ice as consistently as they had been.
The third period was all Pitbulls, however, with the home side winning the shot count 20-6.
Tom Asprey, playing his 150th game for the club, started the comeback with an unassisted goal 29 seconds into the third. But, while Bristol would continue to dominate the play it would be another 13 minutes before Jack Raffaelli would get Bristol’s next.
While there were still seven minutes left, it would still clearly be a challenge to find the remaining two goals required to at force overtime. Jussi Grut was playing some inspired hockey in the Haringey net.
A holding penalty on Lewis Jones led to a power play goal by Grant Richardson, playing his 100th game for the club.
Bristol did pull Ross Miller to try and force the equaliser. And at one point it looked like they may have found it in a goalmouth scramble. But, the fifth goal would be found wanting and Huskies held on for their first win in four games.