Murrayfield Racers run Whitley Warriors close after all but securing North Cup semi-final spot

Tony Hand hails weekend boost

Ross Borwick, left, goes for the puck
Ross Borwick, left, goes for the puck

Despite being beaten 5-3 by Whitley Warriors in their National Ice Hockey League North Cup clash last night, director of hockey Tony Hand declared “mission accomplished” after his side all but secured a semi-final spot from the group stages following Saturday’s 6-3 win in the same competition over Dundee Comets at Murrayfield.

Racers, after building a 2-1 first period lead through goals from Michael Ireland and Joel Gautschi could, and perhaps should, have made it a four-point weekend, but conceded four goals in a poor second period spell in the north east of England.

Hand said: “We gave away a bad penalty, they scored to make it 2-2 and we felt a bit sorry for ourselves for three or four minutes and the momentum changed.

“I thought the guys played pretty well after that.

“We won two of the three periods against a good team, who have a lot of skill and work hard. We always knew this was going to be tough but apart from that poor spell we matched them in a lot of areas.”

Early in the third period Racers, pulled it back to 5-3, Callum Boyd who scored four against Comets the previous night, with the goal and Hand continued:

“Our mission this weekend was to qualify for the next round of the NIHL cup and we managed to do that with our win on Saturday.

“To lose by a couple of goals against a team like Whitley Bay isn’t the worst result in the world, but we need to stop conceding goals caused by breakdowns, a lack of concentration or not getting the puck out at crucial times.”