Saturday saw the Solway Sharks head off on a road trip, Scottish National League duty seeing them unusually playing away from home on a Saturday night. They, and numerous travelling supporters, made the short trip to the Galleon to take on Kilmarnock Thunder.
In a dominant performance Sharks’ overwhelmed the Thunder team from early on, and a barrage of shots from Solway saw the score climb throughout the game, despite some heroics from first Malcolm Anderson and then Thomas Mangan in the Kilmarnock net. With the majority of the play in their zone Thunder were pinned down and found it difficult to break out against the strength of the Sharks, and near impossible to contain their speed. The end of the game saw the score at Thunder 0 Sharks 29, and there was a wide spread of goals and assists throughout the Sharks team. Leading the way was Jaakko Heiskanen with 6, followed by Lewis Houston, Ewan Anderson and Marcus Murdoch all with 4; Struan Tonnar and Luke Houston with 3 goals apiece, and Gordon Horne with a couple. There were also goals from Liam Stenton, Mikey Thomson and Peter Gapa to add to the total. Jaakko Heiskanen was man of the match for Sharks, and Kilmarnock netminder Malcolm Anderson was rewarded for his valiant efforts in net with the award for Thunder.
Afterwards coach Martin Grubb commented, “It’s never an easy game in Kilmarnock due to the size of the ice pad and we prepared for that at practice as best as we could and I thought we coped very well with it. We scored some really nice goals and it was good to see the goals so spread out amongst the team. It’s never nice beating a team by so many goals but credit to Kilmarnock for working so hard all game and never giving up, and I thought both their goalies were great for them.”
Solway continued their SNL campaign back at the Shark Tank on Sunday night, hosting visitors Aberdeen Lynx. Despite the unusual Sunday night on home ice a sizeable crowd turned out to watch as the Sharks took control early on. Liam Stenton opened the Sharks’ account, sending the puck under the netminder and into the goal after 3 minutes from Kieran Hair and Stevie Adams. Some more even play followed, Aberdeen battling to get into the game, before Ewan Anderson added another, scoring at 11:41, assists coming this time from Marcus Murdoch and Peter Gapa. The Sharks managed another just before the end of the period, Ruairi Lockerbie finding the net with a rocket from Stuart Kerr and Ben Coughtrie in the dying seconds. The end of the first saw the score at Sharks 3 Lynx 0, with end-to-end action and some nice passing play keeping the crowd entertained.
There were more Sharks goals in the second, Lewis Houston cleverly beating Lynx keeper from Stenton after 4 minutes to make it 4 – 0, before captain Struan Tonnar fired the puck home at 28:02, taking advantage of a powerplay to score from Kyle Horne and Kieran Hair. Another powerplay goal followed seconds later, Stevie Adams capitalising this time with a neat shot at the back door from Gordon Horne and Kyle Horne. A Sharks penalty gave Lynx the advantage just past the half-way point, and Jordan Leyden took it, netting to make it Sharks 6 Lynx 1. Undeterred, Sharks rapidly got back into their rhythm and restored the gap, Jaakko Heisekanen adding another from Scott Crane and Iain Bowie mere seconds later. The score at the end of the second sat at Sharks 7 Lynx 1.
The third period saw more level play, with Lynx making Sharks work hard at both ends of the ice. There was a single goal in the period, from Sharks’ Peter Gapa at 55:28, his smart finish finding the net on the end of passes from Anderson and Stenton. The final score was Sharks 8 Lynx 1, and Lewis Houston was man of the match for Sharks.
After the game Martin Grubb told us, “We knew coming into this game that Aberdeen would come to play and were full of confidence after a good result on Saturday at home to the Tigers and we would need to start better than the past few Sundays. I thought we were slack with our passing and a bit flat in the first period, and we need to make sure we rectify that. Second period we played in spells but I thought Aberdeen also created plenty of chances and we again were too slack for my liking. The third period was just an average period and overall I don’t think we got anywhere near the high standards we have set and we need to make sure we are better than that every night we play. Aberdeen will feel it wasn’t an 8-1 game and for us it was about just keeping the results rolling, but we must improve ahead of a huge weekend with Solihull and Murrayfield to play.”
Sharks are back in action at the Ice Bowl on Saturday night, facing Solihull Barons in the NIHL. Face off is at the usual Saturday night time of 7pm.