The University of Nottingham (UoN) Ice Hockey side could not recover from falling 3-0 behind early in the second period as they lost 5-4 to their Nottingham Trent University (NTU) counterparts at the Motorpoint Arena.
Two goals in the first period from man of the match Joe Aston put Trent in control, and when he completed his hat-trick early on in the third period, UoN had a mountain to climb. Aidan Kwan pulled a goal back for the Green and Gold less than three minutes after Aston had grabbed his third, but a Bradley Standen goal for Trent restored their three goal advantage.
UoN finally found their feet at the mid-way point of the second period, with Luke Watson and Christy Johnson-Brown starting to show their skill for UoN, and it was great work by Johnson-Brown that set up Watson to score UoN’s second, bringing them right back into the game.
“In the space of a couple of minutes, Trent had taken full control of the match”
When Trent scored their fifth with just under 13 minutes to go, it looked as if they had the game sown up. Despite Dan Atkinson giving UoN a glimmer of hope, UoN never looked like scoring two more, with their fourth scored in the dying seconds to add a closeness to the score that did not reflect the overall game.
Slow start costs UoN dear
In front of a near-capacity Motorpoint Arena crowd, the game started as frantically as the atmosphere was electric early on. It took nearly three minutes for Christy Johnson-Brown to draw the first save from the Trent keeper, before the number 19 pleased the crowd with a cheeky nutmeg and shot.
Luke Watson makes it 4-2! This game has come to life! Great work from Johnson-Brown!
— Impact Varsity 2017 (@ImpactVarsity17) March 30, 2017
When UoN received their first sin-bin of the game, Trent took full advantage, with Joe Aston firing in a shot from the left-hand side that arrowed into the net, although it did appear the UoN keeper could have done more to save it. Slack UoN defending allowed Aston to strike again just moments later, and in the space of a couple of minutes, Trent had taken full control of the match.
UoN had the chances to claw back into the game in the first period, with Johnson-Brown firing just wide, and a number of goalmouth scrambles being smothered by the Trent keeper before they could be smuggled in by a player in green. UoN managed 11 shots to Trent’s five, yet found themselves two down going into the first break.
Pulsating second period shows what Varsity is all about
If the first period was a cagey affair, the second period was open and bristling with attacking intent. When Joe Aston broke away and scored his and Trent’s third, a number of fans would have been forgiven for thinking that the game was sewn up. However, Luke Watson’s introduction changed the momentum, with Aidan Kwan’s scrambled finish giving the UoN faithful hope.
Bradley Standen briefly culled the UoN optimism when he made it 4-1 to Trent, before Luke Watson hit back for UoN, going round to gee up the UoN fans and clearly readying for an extraordinary UoN comeback. Quite like the first half, however, the chances that UoN did create were often not taken, and more missed opportunities in the second period would come back to haunt them dearly.
“The strong finish to the second period meant that there was a belief that there would still be time for UoN to salvage something from the game”
Encouraging for UoN was the Watson-Johnson-Brown axis that was finding space to play, and the strong finish to the second period meant that there was a belief that there would still be time for UoN to salvage something from the game, and avenge their 9-5 drubbing in the same fixture last year.
Trent make it safe in the final third
Despite coming back out for the final period intent on saving the game, UoN were finding themselves caught at the back more and more; so it was, when Trent scored a break-away 5th, despite some resolute saves from keeper Jonathan Betts.
Discipline began to falter for UoN, as both Atkinson and Johnson-Brown found themselves in the sin-bin; Atkinson returned to grab a third for UoN and give the Green and Gold a glimmer of hope. Not including the probably orchestrated fight just over a minute from time (the refs did very little to stop the two trying to beat the s*** out of each other), there did not seem to be much fight left in the UoN team.
Despite a goal in the dying seconds of the game, UoN could not find a way through some brave defensive work by Trent, and will rue the chances missed in the first and second periods, where the game was ultimately lost.
The University of Nottingham Ice Hockey Team:
5. Jacco Renstrom
6. George Spencer
9. Gordon Kallio
11. Emma Sanders
12. Evan Klajnscek
15. Luke Watson
16. Aidan Kwan
17. Aleksandrs Karaluks
19. Christy Johnson-Brown
20. Robert Pullar
21. Paul Whitby
22. Matt Eggen
53. Sam Chandler
64. Jonathan Betts
68. Will Heath
69. Casey Dorey
72. Jay Porter
81. Dan Atkinson
90 Jakko Vayrynen
Images: Impact Images
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