(Whitley Warriors win 8-4 on aggregate)
WHITLEY Warriors were last night crowned double champions, adding the Championship Trophy to the league title with a 5-3 second-leg win in Nottingham.
Whitley lost Nathan Taylor to injury in the opening minutes, but there was no call against the Lions’ player.
However, it was not long before the visitors had their first opportunity, Adam Reynolds’ shot being blocked by the Nottingham goalkeeper after he latched on to Karl Culley’s cross-ice pass.
Whitley then wasted a powerplay opportunity and Ryan Sample did well to block a goalbound shot soon afterwards, but the home side took the lead at 12.11 when Tom Norton shot through traffic.
However, the advantage did not last long as Culley snapped up half a chance in front of goal less than two minutes later as Whitley took advantage of their second powerplay opportunity.
Both sides could have scored with five minutes of the period remaining as the Lions hit the post and almost immediately at the other end the puck rolled along the home goal.
The opening minutes of the middle session saw plenty of end-to-end hockey, but it was Nottingham who had the first real opportunity when Whitley took their first penalty of the game at 24.42. However, it was the visitors who came closest as Adam Reynolds and Bryan Dunn both had chances to score short-handed.
Whitley did eventually score at 34.49 when a misplaced pass from Lions' keeper Alan Levers left DJ Good with the simple task of putting the puck into an empty net.
Whitley then had another powerplay opportunity late in the game which came to nothing, but with ten seconds left a Paul Windridge shot pinged off the post with the goalkeeper well beaten.
Nottingham knew they needed to start the final period well and forced James Flavell into two great saves, which gained their reward when Dale Howey blasted in Whitley’s third at 43.33.
However, when Will Weldon reduced the arrears at 47.21 that sparked a resurgence from the Lions – and the game was level on the night two minutes later through Joe Wightman.
It was now the Warriors who needed to respond and just 35 seconds after the restart Ryan Sample put them ahead again when he deceived the keeper behind the goal and scored.
The result was put beyond doubt at 53.16 when Reynolds scored.