Video - Frustration as Leeds Chiefs hit rock-bottom again after defeat to Hull Pirates

LEEDS CHIEFS player-coach Sam Zajac urged his team to rediscover their desire quickly after they were hammered 6-2 by Yorkshire rivals Hull Pirates.

Sunday, 10th November 2019, 12:19 am
Updated Sunday, 10th November 2019, 10:42 am

The hosts were full value for their win at Hull Arena, never looking back from plundering four unanswered first period goals and which saw them lift the inaugural Remembrance Day trophy in front a 1,000-plus crowd,

The night got worse for Zajac and his players on their journey home, too, when a 7-2 win for Milton Keynes Lightning at home to Bracknell Bees saw them leapfrog the Chiefs to leave the West Yorkshire team back at the bottom of the NIHL National table.

The Chiefs now face league leaders Swindon Wildcats in another scheduled 'home' match which sees them play host at Widnes ice rink on Sunday (face-off 5pm) and will need to avoid the kind of start they suffered in East Yorkshire if they are to avoid another night of disappointment.

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""We were very poor those first 20 minutes, we just weren't at the races and it just leads over from Sunday's performance," said a disappointed Zajac.

"It's so tough to put your finger on it because we're second-best in so many areas right now. We just couldn't match them - we couldn't match their speed, we couldn't match their physicality and the desire, as well, just wasn't there from us in the first 20.

"They are a good team and they smothered us in the first, we didn't make decisions on the puck quick enough, we weren't good enough away from the puck in our defensive zone and the neutral zone, and we were pretty much second-best all over the ice for probably the first 30 minutes."

The visitors could not have got off to a worse start when they found themselves behind with just 13 seconds on the clock, Bobby Chamberlain squeezing the puck through Sam Gospel's near-post after it had been overturned behind the net.

Sam Gospel covers up as defenceman Richard Bentham keeps an eye out for danger. Picture courtesy of Lois Tomlinson.

It got worse in the 10th minute when Sam Towner went five-hole on Gospel, the deficit becoming 3-0 when Chamberlain had time to pick his spot just over a minute later after the Chiefs failed to clear their zone.

Gospel couldn't do anything about the fourth goal, when a speculative shot from defenceman Tom Stubley took a couple of deflections with just 26 seconds remaining in the period.

The Chiefs decided to take Gospel out of the firing line in the break, replacing him with Miles Finney and despite Hull enjoying the better zone time and clearer chances, Leeds seemed to have stemmed the tide.

That was until Chamberlain found himself the man over on the right wing where he was left alone to fire high over Finney's left shoulder to make it 5-0 with his hat-trick strike, import Peter Fabus increasing the lead further at 37.50.

COMING THROUGH: Hull Pirates' player-coach Jason Hewitt tries to get pressure on the Leeds net. Picture courtesy of Lois Tomlinson.

With the game all but won, Hull took their foot off the gas slightly in the third, understandable to a point but it was enough to allow Leeds to salvage something from the evening. They finally got on the board through Richard Bentham at 44.44 and proceeded to enjoy the better chances, although Finney was still called upon to make a couple of smart saves.

Adam Barnes made it 6-2 with a power play strike at 56.29, but it was no more than a consolation, leading Zajac to issue a few home truths to his players in the locker room afterwards, hoping, presumably, to get the necessary reaction when they face-off against the Wildcats on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Shefield Steeldogs built on last Sunday's win at Leeds with a deserved 5-3 triumph on their first visit of the season to Raiders IHC.

Jan Danecek led the way with a memorable hat-trick which came after Kieran Brown had put the visitors ahead after just 38 seconds.

Jake Sylvester levelled within a minute for the hosts, but Danecek restored the advantage at 3.39 before making it 3-1 at 23.42. Although Daniel Scott made it a one-goal game again before the halfway mark, Danecek's hat-trick strike came just under three minutes later.

Again the hosts gave themselves hope when a short-handed strike from Erik Piatak made it 4-3 with just over 10 minutes left, but the Steeldogs remained resolute and ensured both points would be theirs when Nathan Salem struck with 65 seconds remaining.