It was by the narrowest of margins that NTU lost their ice hockey varsity crown on Friday night, a game dominated by turnovers and missed chances.
The University of Nottingham started the first with the upper hand, an early shot pinging off the metal work. It would be UoN who would be first to break the ice, scoring what was to be the only goal of a very close first period. An iffy call (or lack thereof) by the ref and a short breakaway allowed Springer-Hughes to get his first of three goals on the score board.
Just five minutes in and the Green and Yellow (it’s certainly not gold) had the lead.
“Going into the 2nd with it being only a 1-0 game we all knew we had a chance to come back and get the win or force it to overtime.”
As the game developed, Trent ramped up the physicality, however Nottingham struggled to draw anywhere close to level on the shot counter. Shots are one thing, goals are another. Trent needed to start scoring.
Myles Richardson, who shone in defence for NTU said: “Going into the 2nd with it being only a 1-0 game we all knew we had a chance to come back and get the win or force it to overtime.”
Nottingham were quick to capitalise on a snoozing Trent defence and scored not one but two quick fire goals early in the second period, the pressure was on and UoN fans were getting loud. Trent were able to pull back two goals in the second period courtesy of Cameron McCall and Truels Lone, whose goal was a thing of beauty. The slightest of dekes and a great wrist shot sent the puck low glove side. 3-2 to UoN and all to play for.
A key sore point for Trent has to be the failure to capitalise on power play opportunities, a 5 on 3 man advantage in the second period wasn’t converted and Trent left the ice on the wrong side of a 3-2 deficit.
Trent turned it up a notch in the third period, the team could smell overtime and were pushing hard for that equalising goal. With two minutes to go, Trent once again found themselves on the power play and elected to pull their goalie giving them an extra attacker for a 6-4 man advantage. But could they take advantage? Sadly, no. Despite having the two extra attackers, UoN were able to keep Trent out.
Despite a couple of good chances for NTU an inability to cycle the puck successfully without interception meant they were few in number.
It is always a risk pulling the goalie, the empty net makes for such a soft target and with only a few seconds left on the clock, UoN of secured the win with an easy, empty-net goal. 4-2.
And that sadly, is how it ended.
Truels Lone wearing number 40 was one of the standout performers for Trent, some silky moves leaving the NTU crowd on the edge of their seats, but sadly he could find the twine only once. Trent net minder Matty Hodgkins was stellar between the pipes, producing some brilliant stops throughout the game.
Myles said of the team’s performance: “Although it was a disappointing result, everyone seemed pretty happy with how wed played as a team and hopefully next year we can bring it back and get the win!”
A fair result? The hockey fan in me says yes, the Trent student…well, what do you think?
By Chris Croot