Paisley Pirates rounded off the first half of their season with a tense 4-2 win in their final game before the Christmas break.
They got off to the best possible start in the second minute when, on the powerplay, defender Euan McLaughlin broke forward to take a pass from Ryan Sarginson and fired an unstoppable shot past Beveridge in the visitors’ goal to give his side the lead. It got even better for the home team as just over a minute later, Henderson latched on to the puck, assisted by Divok, to double their lead and give the hosts a handy advantage.
Wild came more into the game after their early double shock and, while they had more of the play, they were reliant on Beveridge to keep them in the game and he did so with a string of fine saves. Pirates did have the puck in the net after 17 minutes, but the “goal” was wiped out as there was an attacker in Beveridge’s area.
The visitors came out firing in the second session and were back in the game within 70 seconds. They took advantage of a powerplay opportunity through ex-Pirate Scott Cowan who scored a wraparound goal to pull the deficit back to one, and for the next few minutes a tension crept into the game before Walker fired a top shelf effort beyond Beveridge to restore the two goal advantage at 3-1. However, with Wild again on the powerplay within seconds it was that man Cowan once more who pulled the score back to a one goal difference, and the Wild player/coach wasn’t slow to show his delight at netting a second marker. The match was now ebbing and flowing at either end and within four minutes Henderson had scored his own second, and his team’s fourth goal, to stretch the scoreline to 4-2, and with no further scoring in the session Pirates saw out the period in somewhat nervy fashion.
While Pirates had the best of the openings in the final session, they just couldn’t put the Wild away, in spite of having several gilt edged chances to score the killer fifth goal, and the visitors came close on several occasions to pulling the scoreline back once again, with the tension mounting as the period progressed. With the match proceeding into the final ten minutes, Pirates fell foul of referee Emerson on three occasions, and they had to withstand periods of sustained pressure as they defended powerplays, the last one being almost a minute of playing off a five on three disadvantage, with the home fans holding their collective breath as play edged towards the final buzzer, a sound which was greeted with some relief.
Head Coach Ian Turley said after the game, “ Despite having a number of players unavailable through injury and illness I thought we started really well. I felt it was a game we were always in control of and we really should have been more clinical in front of the net as we created a number of high scoring chances but couldn’t execute them. Overall we are happy with the two points and have set ourselves up going into January when we will face quality opposition in the Racers.”
Pirates now have a two week festive break before their next match, a trip to Edinburgh to take on Murrayfield Racers on Sunday 6 January.