Busy Day On The Ice For Junior Sharks

Sunday saw the visit of not one but two ice hockey clubs to Dumfries Ice Bowl. Firstly, the U12s Solway Sharks Juniors team welcomed their counterparts from Dundee.

Outdone in both numbers and depth of experience, despite a good start the young Solway players found it hard to mount a defence against the numerous and relentless attacks from the well-organised and tactically strong Dundee team. Solway players all tried hard, but despite the best efforts of everyone on the ice, the team were defeated. Tomas Vyrostek was man of the match.

After the game coach Craig Jackson said, “The Under 12s are a young team, and every game is a learning experience for the players. On the back of a good game against North Ayr we got off to a good start in this game against Dundee, who took the lead late on in the first period.

Unfortunately, this saw us collapse as a team, and ill-discipline started to creep in. Dundee’s convincing win showed how well the organsied Dundee team played. This will be a big learning curve of our team and will lead them to be better and stronger players in the future. We will look forward to our next game, and work on strengthening up the areas we were weak in today.”

Next up, the Under 16s welcomed their rivals from Kilmarnock, in the closest thing to a local derby game for the Dumfries-based team. Coming on the back of a 7-9 defeat at Kilmarnock in the away fixture, Solway were determined not to suffer the same fate on their home ice. The game was very evenly matched for the first period, with end-to-end hockey and plenty of attempts on both goals. It took until the 11th minute before scoring commenced – with Captain Lewis Houston sending a Scott McCutcheon pass rocketing past Thomas Mangan in Kilmarnock net to put Solway ahead. In a fierce bit of play Kilmarnock replied a minute later, an unlucky deflection over the catcher of Solway netminder Joshua Leuvennink. Another Houston goal, this time from Charles Leuvennink, seconds from the buzzer, saw the period finish 2-1 Solway.

The second period opened with Solway firmly in control, and Houston added to his tally and the score with a excellent unassisted goal after 90 seconds to widen the gap. During a sustained period of Solway pressure there were convincing attempts on goal from, among others, Aidan Nicol, Megan Gourlay, Scott Rae, Matthew Waters and Andrew Craik, while the defence of Andrew Robb, Scott McCutcheon, Liam Stenton, Jack Little and Jack Slater were kept busy shielding Leuvennink from Kilmarnock’s frequent attacks. Another 6 minutes of frantic play passed before Joe Little scored Solway’s fourth, from Houston and Lennon McNee, and Houston made it 5 soon after with his trademark unassisted goal, and the period finished 5-1 to Solway.

By the time the third period got underway both teams were tiring from the fast pace and frenetic effort of the game so far, and while the play was more evenly matched, Solway were content to sit back and defend their lead. When the final buzzer sounded the Sharks were delighted to be on the winning end of 5-1 game, and move further up the league table. Liam Stenton was named man of the match.

After the game coach Jamie Kerr commented, “This was probably the first game this season we have had a bigger squad than the opposition. Although still not enough to run three lines we rotated our
odd numbers into the two lines and kept up a reasonable tempo to win the game, We dominated the first period and Kilmarnock would have been flattered to be only 201 down at the end of it. A shrewd middle period gave us a 5-1 cusion, and then we played out the third by showing some good puck retention. We may have dropped a gear by the end but kept our lines safe while doing so. Having now beaten Belfast, Aberdeen, S Ayrshire, Inverness and Kilmarnock to go five in a row, we are looking to keep it rolling going for six.”

Solway Sharks Junior Ice Hockey Club is actively recruiting players of all ages and abilities. If you fancy trying the fastest team sport in the world, contact Dumfries Ice Bowl on 01387 251300 for details of Learn to Play sessions – you could soon be taking to the ice in a Solway jersey, playing for your local club.