BRADFORD BULLDOGS head to NIHL North Two leaders Telford Tigers on Saturday looking to bounce back from a mixed return to action last weekend.

The Bulldogs opened 2024 in winning style when they came away from their second trip of the season to Kingston Sharks with an 8-5 win.

But they were brought down to earth with a bump on home ice the following day when they lost 3-0 to Coventry NIHL Blaze.

The split weekend leaves them sitting comfortably in seventh place, with the win at Kingston strengthening their play-off claims

“It was good to start the new year with a win,” said head coach Brown. “We dominated the first period at Kingston but, as with many other games this season, we allowed the other team back in during the second period.

“We even went behind early in the third, but we dug deep and got the job done. It was a big win for us.”

In Hull, the Bulldogs were good value for their 3-0 first period lead through a Josh Stockton double and a 19th-minute strike from Connor Medley.

But the second period saw a swing in momentum as the Sharks hauled themselves back in the game, the visitors only going in level at 4-4 thanks to a 37th-minute strike from Medley.

Chris Hogarth put the hosts ahead for the first time early in the third to complete the turnaround, but the Bulldogs rallied, drawing level through Medley’s hat-trick strike at 41.53 before Stockton restored his team’s advantage on the power play with his third of the game just under two minutes later to make it 6-5.

Medley made the most of another power play opportunity to increase the lead in the 58th minute before the impressive Rhys Edwards added a deserved goal to his seven assists when he made sure of the points at 58.17.

Leading goalscorer Stockton and fellow forward Mikey Speare were missing for the following day’s home clash against Coventry, joining defenceman Joel Bark and centre Jack Wooding on the sidelines.

It proved a one-sided affair, the Bulldogs restricted to just 11 shots on goal all game, while netminder Jake Lowndes worked wonders at the other end as he turned away all but three of the 53 shots on his goal.

Connor Wheeldon led the way for the Blaze with two goals, sandwiching a 17th-minute effort from Oliver Dixon.

“Unfortunately we picked up a few more injuries in Hull which meant we were without several key players against Coventry and it showed,” added Brown.

“While Jake managed to keep the scoreline down, we never really looked like scoring so a 3-0 defeat probably flattered us somewhat.”

The Bulldogs follow up their trip to Telford with another away game at Nottingham on Saturday, January 20 before returning home to face Altrincham Aces at Bradford Ice Arena on January 21 (face-off, 5.30pm).