Spartans overcame a possible tricky weekend by recording two 7-1 victories over Sheffield Senators at Ice Sheffield. On Saturday, Sens were the home team and in a close first period Spartans held a won goal advantage at 1-0 going into the period break. Spartans had started the better but despite some good spells of pressure and possession they only had Elliott Knell’s goal timed 11.55 to show for their efforts. The goal triggered a response from Senators who came more into the game and finish the stronger of the two teams in the closing stages and imagine that they will have been the happier of the two teams at the break.
Spartans stepped it up a few gears to dominate the second period with goals from Stuart Brittle (24.06), Will Barron (31.31), Tom Parkinson (32.30) & Nick Manning (34.48) making it 5-0 in their favour. Had it not been for the efforts of Mark Hartley in Sens goal the score line could have been far greater.
Senators came out a different team in the final period and made more of a game of things and pulled a well taken goal back through Nathan Britton at 44.44. It was a lot more even this period with both teams creating chances but Spartans always looked the more likely to score which proved to be the case when Maros Stefanco (49.14) & Will Barron (52.51) made it 7-1 which was to be the final score resulting in a deserved victory for Spartans with Maros Stefanco picking up the Man of the Match beers whilst Jonny Bell was awarded it for Senators have a solid performance.
On Sunday it was Spartans privilege to be home team and although the outcome was the same it came about in very different circumstances. Spartans were quick out of the blocks to race to a three goal lead through Ollie Barron (1.01) with Maros Stefanco adding a brace timed 3.12 & 7.28. Sens weathered the storm and pulled it back to 3-1 with a nice goal from ex Spartan Alex Harding in his first season back with the Sens. The goal installed some belief into Sens who were more than coping with what Spartans had to offer with Brandon Stones making some several decent saves to keep the two goal cushion intact.
In the second period Spartans dominated proceedings but were struggling to turn that dominance into goals being guilty of missing several guilt edged chances. They were also made to work hard against a stubborn Senator rear-guard inspired by an outstanding performance between the pipes by Mark Hartley. However they couldn’t hold out as Spartans patience held out to see Ollie Barron & Nick Manning add two late goals to make it 5-1 at the end of the second period.
Senators battled away with credit but ultimately were undone by some solid Spartans defending including Andy Bagshaw in goal for Brandon Stoned for the final 20 minutes and two well worked & quick fire goals. The first from Will Barron timed 55.23 with Stuart Brittle scoring an unassisted shorthanded goal on 56.17. Spartans saw the game out against a Senators side that refused to give up but in fairness with the score line significantly in their favour Spartans were always in control to record their second 7-1 success of the weekend. Maros Stefanco was once again named as Spartans Man of the Match with Sergevs Jegorovs receiving the accolade for Senators with Mark Hartley strangely overlooked after another impressive performance in Sens goal.
It was a case of job well done for Spartans in two games where both teams weren’t at their best but the victors having more positives than negatives with the losers having gained some valuable experience in their first season at this level from which they will no doubt learn and improve, very much like they did on Sunday from Saturday. As for Spartans it will have been good to get two competitive games under their belts
with more numbers than in previous challenge games; although some players were still not available, it will serve as ideal preparation for next Sunday’s test up in Billingham.