The Junior Solway Sharks under 16s team was the only team in action last weekend, with back-to-back games.
First up was a long road trip to Aberdeen on Saturday to face an amalgamated Highland Lynx team. Solway took a while to loosen up after their long journey, and play flowed evenly for the first 8 minutes of the game. Jumping on a powerplay advantage, Liam Stenton sent the puck to Megan Gourlay , who found Scott Rae in space, and he found the back of the net to put Solway a goal ahead – a score which held to the end of the period, thanks to fine defending by Jack Little, Jackson Collett and Scott Kirkpatrick.
Solway settled into their lines by the second period, and just shy of 22 minutes it was Stenton and Rae who combined for the next goal, slotted home nicely by the latter. Stenton scored an unassisted goal 2 minutes later, before Matthew Watters delivered the puck to Gourlay, who sent Stenton net-wards to score. Mere seconds later Kirkpatrick won the puck in the D-zone, sent it to Stenton, who made no mistake finding the net, and scored his third in 4 minutes – Solway finished the period comfortably 5 goals to nil ahead.
The third period started with Josh Leuvennink making way in nets for Jonathan Spence. Lynx were quick to strike against a cold goalie, scoring within 10 seconds. 5 minutes later they struck again, bringing the score to 5 -2 Solway. Liam Stenton replied on Solway’s behalf on 38 minutes, going coast to coast to score an unassisted goal. Lynx clawed another one back with 6 minutes left, and the game finished 6 – 3 Solway. Scott Kirkpatrick was man of the match for Solway.
Sunday morning saw the players back on home ice at Dumfries Ice Bowl, welcoming their opponents from Murrayfield. This was a much harder test of the team’s mettle, against a strong and well-organised group of players. Murrayfield were dominant in the first period, their fast-paced play quick to swamp the Solway defence, and managed to score twice over the period. The period-break talk by coach Kerr obviously had the desired effect , and the team came out re-energised. Hard work followed, and when Liam Stenton got on the end of a Megan Gourlay pass and struck into the back of the net the team was delighted. Murrayfield were swift to reply, scoring again seconds later, to consolidate their 3-1 lead.
By the final period Solway were starting to tire, and Murrayfield were swift to capitalise, racking up another 2 goals within 10 minutes. Stenton again found the net, this time from a precise Jack Little pass to bring the score to 5 -2 after 42 minutes. When Murrayfield scored again five minutes from the end the game was all but over, and the score held until the final whistle. Josh Leuvennink was man of the match for Solway.
Reflecting on the weekend performances coach Jamie Kerr commented, “The team have had a very demanding weekend. We travelled to Aberdeen and played some hard and sensible hockey for two periods before taking the foot off the gas a bit in the third. It’s hard for guys that are so young to maintain intensity when sitting pretty at 5-0.
The Edinburgh game was an amazing effort. After travelling back from Aberdeen the night before, to play one of the strongest teams in the country the next morning was always going to be tough. We played well and nullified most of what they had until the last 5-10 mins. It took some awesome individual talent from one of their guys who scored five and assisted one out of their six goals to prize a result from us.
We are on the right tracks here, and the bigger, stronger more experienced teams are having to work to the maximum ability and effort to take results from us. If we take that work rate into next week’s game we will be looking to score a fair few goals again.”
Solway Sharks Under 16s are in action at Dumfries Ice Bowl on Sunday at 12 noon, facing Ayr Bruins. Anyone interested in playing ice hockey should contact Dumfries Ice Bowl on 01387 253100 for details of learn to play sessions.