Video - Leeds Chiefs 4 Hull Pirates 3 - Lewis Baldwin ensures more overtime joy for Chiefs

NEVER let it be said that Leeds Chiefs like to do things the easy way.

Saturday, 15th February 2020, 1:14 am
Updated Saturday, 15th February 2020, 8:01 am

With 16 seconds left on the clock of Friday night’s pulsating Yorkshire derby at Elland Road against Hull Pirates, Richard Bentham danced his way through the visitors’ lines before placing his shot into the bottom left-hand corner of Ash Smith’s net.

Cue delirious scenes among the home crowd as the defenceman dropped to one knee and fired an imaginary arrow into the stand.

But, 14 seconds later, the Chiefs were the ones left completely floored, Matty Davies forcing the puck home for his second goal of the night with just 2.1 seconds on the clock.

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Lewis Baldwin celebrates his game-winning goal in overtime for Leeds Chiefs against Hull Pirates. Picture: Dean Woolley.

For the second week running, the Chiefs were going into 3-on-3 overtime. For the second week running, the Chiefs gained a man advantage - Matt Bisonnette boxed for slashing and then given a game misconduct for his subsequent protest - and, yes, for the second week running, they made it count.

Bentham, who thought he’d already won the game for the hosts a few minutes earlier, collected the puck from a face off win by Patrik Valcak and quickly switched it to the left-hand side where fellow D-man Lewis Baldwin ripped a shot through Smith for a stunning 4-3 victory.

It was a remarkable ending to a memorable game, both sides contributing equally, each enjoying periods of dominance and creating enough chances to win the game in regulation.

It had been a fairly sedate opening few minutes in comparison to how the night ended, the visitors enjoying the better zone time initially, something which almost paid off in the eighth minute when Matt Bissonnette was found all alone at the back post only to be denied by a superb pad save from a quick-moving Sam Gospel in the Chiefs’ net.

Richard Bentham fires past Ash Smith to give Leeds Chiefs a 3-2 lead with just 16 seconds remaining, although Hull Pirates hit back with just two seconds to go to take the game into overtime. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Pirates’ player-coach Jason Hewitt fired wide from in front soon after, but it wasn’t too long before the Chiefs, weith Steven Moore restored to the forward lines due to the absence of Jordan Kelsall and Connor Henderson, did fall behind.

Bentham was sent to the box on a slashing call and it took only 21 seconds for the visitors to make their man advantage count, Davies quickest to react to his initial attempt on goal, scooping up the loose puck to fire over Gospel and into the top left-hand corner.

It wasn’t long, however, before the home fans were on their feet, the Pirates’ lead lasting less than a minute after Smith parried a shot but couldn’t stop Valcak following up to jab the puck over the line after several attempts at 9.31.

Former Chiefs’ forward James Archer – finally playing on the ice he had first signed up for last summer but having returned to Hull in December – then fired over when well-placed in front.

Patrik Valcak Goal forces the puck through Ash Smith in the Hull Pirates net to draw Leeds Chiefs level in the ninth minute. Picture: Dean Woolley.

At the other end, Chiefs’ player-coach Sam Zajac was probably surprised to see how easy the ice opened up for him down the middle but his effort flew just over Smith’s bar.

Hewitt made sure he didn’t suffer the same fate when it was his turn to drive through the middle the other way shortly after, allowed too much time and space to pick his spot and firing past Gospel into the same top left-hand corner as Davies had six minutes earlier.

A goalless second period followed, Hull again coming out the strongest, Sam Towner amd Lee Haywood denied both denied when close-in by Gospel’s pads, the Leeds goalie later equal to another effort from Towner who had skated round the back before creating room for himself on the left-hand hash marks.

The Chiefs struggled to make any inroads on a couple of power plays, but eventually rallied towards the end of the period, Ethan Hehir denied by Smith’s outstretched right leg, while Caly Robertson, Barnes and Valcak all went close.

Leeds Chiefs celebrate their thrilling overtime win over Hull Pirates. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Bobby Chamberlain nearly made it 3-1 early in the third only to hit the pipes, while Gospel had to be alert to deny David Norris, Archer and Hewitt.

The Chiefs eventually drew level at 45.58 when, following good work on the boards in the corner from Lewis Houston, Adam Barnes swivelled round to fire through the narrowest of gaps over Smith’s left shoulder and into the roof of the net.

The Chiefs killed off a penalty on Hehir and then came agonisingly close to going in front at the other end when Lewis Houston saw his effort cannon off the post and dance along the line without going in.

It was a dramatic moment in itself and lifted the home fans off their seats. But it was nothing to match the drama that came later.

Leeds hit the ice again on Saturday night with the first part of a double-header against Milton Keynes Lightning, first travelling down to Buckinghamshire before returning to Elland Road to play host to Lewis Clifford’s team just under 24 hours later.

Hull get Saturday night off before resuming hostilities with another Yorkshire derby at home on Sunday, where they will look to gain revenge on Sheffield Steeldogs after losing 4-3 last Sunday at Ice Sheffield.