Gullo guides UoN to victory in Ice Hockey Varsity

Domenico Gullo scored four goals as the University of Nottingham beat Nottingham Trent by a score of 9-6 in this year’s Ice Hockey varsity match at the Motorpoint Arena.

UoN started the game as they meant to go on as Jacob Splurge smashed in the first goal of the night after just four minutes. Two minutes later, Gullo got his first of the night after carrying the puck around Hannah Steeples’ goal and tucking it inside of the near post.

Trent spent most of the first period on the back foot as Steeples was called in time and time again to keep the puck out of her net. The Trent goaltender made two particularly impressive saves with her stick and glove either side of the quarter hour mark to keep NTU in the game.

With two minutes to go in the first period, NTU managed to get one back through Cameron McCall after catching UoN on the break.

Trent came out strong in the second period and were level three minutes after play resumed. Luke Thornton’s error in the UoN goal allowed Truel Lone to flick the puck past him and level the match.

It wasn’t to last for long as Luke Watson scrambled in the University of Nottingham’s third goal a minute after Trent equalised. Things went from bad to worse for NTU as Domenico Grullo added his second and UoN’s fourth just 24 seconds later.

UoN continued to dominate proceedings, forcing more strong saves from Steeples in the Trent goal and hitting the iron midway through the second period.

Despite the pressure, it was Trent who grabbed the next goal. Josh Skinner’s superb goal pulled NTU back within one goal in the 32nd minute. A great bit of skill allowed Skinner to breakaway from UoN’s defensive line and go one-on-one with Thornton. Though the UoN keeper made the first save, Skinner was quicker to the puck and slotted home the rebound.

The action in the second period was relentless as UoN were awarded a penalty shot just minutes later. Steeples denied UoN with a great pad save but it counted for nothing as Gullo was able to turn the puck home just moments later in the 35th minute. That was the Italian forward’s hattrick goal.

With five minutes to go in the second period, there were still another three goals to come. NTU again hauled themselves back into the game a minute after Gullo’s hattrick goal. Then came the best goal of the night as UoN’s Ruskin Skinner-Hughes rifled a shot from distance into the top-right corner of the NTU goal.

Skinner-Hughes wasn’t finished though as he popped up again with another rocket in the last minute of the second period, putting UoN 4-7 up at the end of the period with two quick, unanswered goals.

The final period started cagier than the others. Steeples pulled off another string of good saves in the NTU goal but neither side were able to find a way through for almost eight minutes. Considering the rate in which goals had been flying in, it felt like an eternity.

It was NTU who finally got the third period going on the 48th minute when Will Juran scrambled the puck past Thornton from close range. But as with almost any NTU goal on the night, the University of Nottingham always had a quick response.

Gullo again restored UoN’s three goal lead just a minute later. It was the pick of the bunch from the Italian who beat Steeples with a bullet shot from a fair way out.

NTU piled the pressure on in search of yet another goal to put them back in it with a chance and that goal did indeed come. With just two minutes to play, Skinner got his second and the NTU crowd burst back into life.

The game began to feel like a broken record though as UoN once again scored immediately after to secure the win. The final score: University of Nottingham 9-6 Nottingham Trent.

UoN were deserving of their victory and looked the sharper of the two sides all across the ice. Domenico Gullo was of course the standout man with the four goals that proved to be the winning difference for his side.

The loss for Trent means that UoN retain the Ice Hockey varsity title. However, both sides can hold their heads high having produced an absolutely thrilling goal-fest at the Motorpoint Arena.

By Christian Riley

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