Full-on Fixtures For Junior Sharks – Ice Hockey

The Junior Solway Sharks have had another couple of busy weeks, with fixtures coming fast and furious as the end of the ice hockey season approaches. 

Last Saturday saw a busy day, with the SK Joinery sponsored Under 12s ( main Image)  visiting near-neighbours Ayr Bruins.  Although keen to make their mark, the wee Sharks were put on the back foot when Ayr scored after only a minute, and it took them a while to settle down and find their rhythm. Their perseverance was rewarded after 6 minutes, when Lewis Gibson scored to even the game, nicely assisted by Samuel Wojcik and Cassie McGregor.  This sparked the youngsters’ confidence, and Niall Duignan was next on the scoresheet, finding the net 4 minutes later from Finlay Smeaton, followed only seconds later by Cassie McGregor from Tony Ho and Samuel Wojcik.  Lewis Gibson scored his second, this time from Tomas Vyrostek and Jackson Collette, seconds before the period buzzer, and the Sharks found themselves with a comfortable 4-1 cushion.

The second period saw Solway jump straight back into the game, with Cameron Stevenson scoring after only 13 seconds of play, from N Duignan and Smeaton.  Ayr, who were now spending most of their time trying to defend against Solway’s repeated attacks, managed to sneak one past Braiden Howat in the Solway net on 16 minutes to bring the score to 5-2.  The Sharks soon found their rhythm again, and after some fine passing play Gibson found the net again on 21 minutes from Vyrostek, followed 2 minutes later by a Collette goal from N Duignan.  Ayr could do nothing to reply, and the period finished with Solway 7goals to 2 ahead.

After a quick drink and a word from the coach Solway hit the ice flying for the third, and saw 3 goals in the first 3 minutes.  First up was Scott Kirkpatrick from Vyrostek and Gibson, followed by Gibson himself from Bailey Thomson and Kirkpatrick, then Stevenson with his second, from Smeaton and N Duignan.  Although the game was all but over by this point, such was the dominance of the Solway team, Ayr managed another goal, much against the run of play.  Secure with their 10-3 lead at this point, Solway settled down to some fine fluid team play, which saw hard work from Ewan Duignan and Robert McLardy, while Owen Rae bolstered the defence in front of Howat’s goal.  When Thomson scored five minutes from the end, assisted by Vyrostek and Kirkpatrick, he brought the goal tally to 11-3, which remained until the end of the game – a very convincing victory for the wee Sharks.

A delighted coach Craig Jackson commented, “Today saw us travel up the A76 to take on the Ayr Bruins.  We got off to a slow start that saw us go behind early on, and look fragile in our defensive zone.  As we settled into the game we were able to hit back and take control, and did not look back from this point. As we took command of the game and started to move the puck around we saw some excellent team goals as well as some excellent individual efforts.  Goals were well spread throughout the team and the players were able to pick up 19 assists from the 11 goals scored. Man of the match went to Samuel Wojcik who had an excellent game and was able to pick up 2 assists during the match.This was over all a great performance by the team, and we will hope to build on this as we head to Lanarkshire Lightning next week.”


While the youngest Sharks were in Ayr, Oakbank Services sponsored Solway under 16s headed to Edinburgh to play Murrayfield, the week after beating them 8-5 in Dumfries.  Solway took to the ice expecting a hard game, and they were not disappointed.  They took the lead after only a minute, captain Lewis Houston leading from the front with his characteristic unassisted goal, and after a further 3 minutes of hard-fought physical play he repeated the feat to put Solway 2 goals ahead.  Murrayfield were not discouraged, got their heads down, and scored just after 5 minutes to bring the score to 2-1 Solway.  More fast-paced end-to-end play followed, but despite numerous attempts on goal and thanks to some fine saves from Joshua Leuvennink in Solway net, the score remained static until the end of the period.

Lewis Houston

After some words of guidance from coach Joe Coulter during the break the Sharks started fast, and struck goal within 2 minutes, Aidan Nicol scoring from Scott McCutcheon.  More hard, competitive play followed, the teams being fairly evenly matched. It took till 2 minutes before the end of the period before there was another goal, this time for Murrayfield, and the score stayed at 3-2 Solway until the buzzer sounded.

At the start of the third period Murrayfield came out all guns blazing and showed their dominance on their home ice, scoring 3 goals in 3 minutes, putting them 2 goals ahead and knocking the stuffing out of the Solway attack.  The Sharks kept plugging away in the face of fierce and spirited opposition, and their determination paid off when Houston scored again, this time from Andrew Robb, to bring the game back within Solway’s grasp.  The best efforts of Solway in the remaining game time were to no avail, and the match saw Murrayfield finish 5-4 victors.  Joshua Leuvennink was awarded man of the match.


Next for the Under 16s was a home game, the new tradition of mid-week hockey seeing them welcome North Ayrshire to Dumfries Ice Bowl on Thursday night for a Scottish Cup semi-final game.

Solway started the game in determined fashion, getting their heads down and digging deep to get some passing and fluid play flowing.  It took 10 minutes of play and numerous shots on goal before Solway opened the scoring, captain Lewis Houston leading the way with a short-handed goal from an Aidan Nicol pass.  Despite N Ayr’s best attempts on Rebekah Scott’s goal they could not find a way through, and more resolute play followed, before Charles Leuvennink stretched the Sharks’ lead to 2-0 with an unassisted strike in the final minute of the period.

The second period saw play become more physical, and penalties start to stack up. Solway kept their composure and their focus, and were delighted to see their lead extended by a Houston signature unassisted goal after 4 minutes of play.  A period of less frantic, more even play followed, with Solway remaining in charge of the game, so when N Ayr snuck the puck past Joshua Leuvennink on 27 minutes it was against the run of play.  The score remained static to the end of the second, Solway leading 3-1.

The third period saw N Ayr come out fast and score a quick goal, hitting the net after barely a minute of play.  Seeing their lead diminish to 3-2 coach Jamie Kerr called a time out, and after listening to him Solway stepped up the pace and the scoring – Houston leading from the front once again, netting twice in 2 minutes, first from Jack Little, then with a fine solo effort, to put Solway firmly back in charge.

North Ayr’s frustration started to show as the pace increased, and the physicality became more pronounced at the same time.  Unconcerned, the Sharks kept their composure and concentrated on their game, and when Houston netted again on 40 minutes assisted by Andrew Craik the score was a comfortable 6-2 to Solway.  A final Nicol goal from Lennon McNee 2 minutes from the end cemented Solway’s dominance, and the final score of 7-2 sees them progress to the Scottish Cup final.  Lewis Houston was man of the match, and received a trophy sponsored by former Shark Bari McKenzie, now a Braehead Clan player.

Coach Jamie Kerr said after the game, “We were missing two key players due to Scotland duty and a broken wrist, and as we have such a small squad this impacted massively on our usual speed.  We were sluggish in the opening two periods, although we always looked comfortable, going into the last period 3-1 up.  Lewis Houston showed great leadership by taking the game by the scruff of the neck and leading us, scoring 5 of the 7 goals, as well as setting up countless other chances. The most impressive aspect of our game was that we never really got sucked into North Ayr’s indiscipline, and came away relatively unscathed.”

Anyone interested in playing ice hockey should contact Dumfries Ice Bowl on 01387 251300 for details of Learn to Play sessions.



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