.DALROD Peterborough Islanders: 6
Chelmsford Warriors: 4
(Period Scores – 1-1, 3-2, 2-1)
The last meeting between these two teams at the Riverside in Chelmsford saw the Islanders on the wrong side of a humiliating 9-1 defeat. With this in mind, it was a strong, determined Islanders side which hit the ice on Saturday, boosted by the inclusion of Martins Susters, the return of Bradley Moore & James White from duties with the Phantoms, and the call up of Callum Medcalf from the U18s.
The Islanders opened the scoring just before the 10 minute mark as Connor Stokes converted a power play chance following moves from Conor Pollard and Martins Susters. However, 5 minutes later Chelmsford Man of The Match Ollie Baldock equalised on the return power play after James White received 2 minutes for boarding. The Islanders finished the period 2 men down following Leon Groom picking up 2 for interference and Martins Susters picking up 2 for boarding.
Early in the 2nd period, Chelmsford made the 2 man advantage count with Ayliffe and Morgan combining to beat Dan Lane in the Islanders net a minute in. This gave the Islanders a man back and with that, killed the rest of the penalty with some ease. At the half way mark, Leon Groom picked up a 2+10 for a check to the head which proved to be the trigger for an unusual scene. While Groom and Warriors captain Will Polston threw down for a very even fight, (honours shared with respect exchanged between the two post fight), this drew scenes of hand bags, with Dale Jowett and senior Chelmsford player Elliot Dervish exchanging blows, picking up matching roughing minors and Chelmsford netminder Sonny Phillips, (younger brother of former Invicta goons Billy and Charlie Phillips), taking the opportunity to leave his crease and taunt the Islanders bench, (receiving a minor penalty for his troubles).
After the dust had settled, the game resumed, the Islanders continued to press hard and just past the halfway mark equalised as Conor Pollard picked up a pass from Susters. Chelmsford struck back less than a minute later to retake the lead which lasted less than 2 minutes following a fine display of passing that saw Connor Stokes and Conor Pollard set up Martins Susters for his first Islanders goal, and with 40 seconds left in the period, James White scored the go ahead goal from a Brad Moore pass to give the Islanders a 4-3 lead at the end of the 2nd.
As the teams returned for the third period, Islanders Captain Nathan Pollard playing as a Defenceman for the first time since ending his junior career, took a little over 40 seconds to double the Islanders lead. Despite running into penalty trouble with a succession of minor penalties, the Islanders maintained the lead until with a little over 10 minutes to go when Nathan Pollard combined with fellow D Man Xandy Cleaves to score goal number 6 of the night giving the Islanders a 3 goal lead and effectively killing the Warriors hopes of a win. A consolation goal from Taylor Ross at 49 minutes gave the visitors some pride, but the win went to the home town team.
Speaking to Coach Stevie Johnson afterwards “this was a do or die breaker for us, and with confidence low, this was a big ask, I’m very pleased with how the boys responded and this has secured us a promotion play off place as well which is a huge achievement” .
The Islanders play their last home game against the currently undefeated Slough Jets on Saturday 28th March at 5pm before playing the first leg of their NIHL2 cup semi final against Bristol Pitbulls a week later.