Winning start to 2016!
Warwick Grizzlies vs Mansfield 5-2
On the 17th of January, the Warwick Grizzlies headed to Birmingham once again to play their first competitive game of 2016 against new opposition Mansfield. A rusty start after the holiday period caused Mansfield to take control early on in the game quickly making the score 1-0 with a well worked goal. The Grizzlies grew into the game through the remainder of the first period dominating possession and creating the majority of the chances. However, the Mansfield keeper was able to protect his goal well, leaving Mansfield 1-0 up at the end of the first. Several more fantastic saves at the start of the second started to frustrate the Grizzlies with us unable to find a way past. But a fantastic shot from Samuel Lehtinen midway through the second was able to find the top corner with nothing the keeper could do pegged them back to 1-1. An unfortunate rebound straight after the restart, unfortunately put Mansfield back ahead and it stayed 2-1 until the end of the second, with work to do for the Grizzlies in the third for us to get anything from the game. As Mansfield began to tire towards the middle of the third period, the Grizzlies tightened the screw starting to really push their defence. More heroics from the keeper kept Mansfield ahead, but the second breakthrough came, again, from Samuel Lehtinen with another top finish. The Grizzlies managed to swing the momentum with another goal from Sam in quick succession turning the game on its head. Further pressure lead to a couple more goals for the Grizzlies from Jack Meadows and Sandris Sikorka putting the game out of reach for Mansfield and the well-fought game ended 5-2 in favour of the Grizzlies.
Scorers: Samuel Lehtinen (3) Jack Meadows (1) Sandris Sikorka (1)
Warwick Grizzlies vs Mansfield 9-5 (Friendly)
A late withdrawal meant that the Grizzlies played Mansfield again in a friendly. With the pressure off, it was a good time for the Grizzlies to get some more game time and experiment a little with tactics. A more composed start to the game meant that we were quickly ahead thanks to goals from Sandris and Sam. A sound defensive display from the team showed as we finished the first 2-0 up. Further goals from James and Sam made it difficult for Mansfield to find a way back into the game, with the score 4-1 to the Grizzlies at the end of the second. However, the trademark collapse came at the start of the third as we began to tire and switch off. With the score at 5-4 and Mansfield with some strong momentum, we had to find a way to get back in control. Chris Witney took this into his own hands, with a marvellous link up with James Robinson, teeing him up to finish a textbook goal. Meanwhile getting his “all-important assist” and putting the Grizzlies back in charge while he was at it. Into the last 10 minutes of the game, great resilience and composure lead Sandris and Sam both completing their hatricks. But with Mansfield managing to get another one back, it was a nervous finish to the game. But James managed to seal off the game with a goal right on the buzzer, grabbing his first hatrick for the Grizzlies as well (cue embarrassing jumping celebration). This ended a fun and rewarding day for the Grizzlies, starting off 2016 with two well-earned wins.
Scorers: Samuel Lehtinen (3) Sandris Sikorka (3) James Robinson (3)