Slovakian Fills Gap for Sharks

It was a short-benched Building Craftsmen Dumfries Solway Sharks that took to the ice on Saturday night to face Solihull Barons, the only team to have defeated them so far in the current season.  With several key players absent from their line-up the Dumfries outfit was delighted to have Slovakian Peter Gapa back with the squad.

The rearranged team lines took off fast, and had Barons parked in their own end for the early part of the game.  It didn’t take Gapa long to make his presence felt, a pass from Stuart Kerr finding Callum Boyd, who picked out Gapa, and the Slovak slotted the puck past Sam Hewitt in Barons’ net at 6:55, to the delight of the Sharks fans.  Just after the halfway point of the period Boyd and Gapa again combined, this time feeding the puck to Gordon Horne for Sharks’ second of the night at 11:15.  As the period progressed Barons broke out of their end and the play became more even, and as the clock ticked down Bailey Challans pulled one back for the visitors assisted by Marcus Maynard at 19:36, and the score at the first break was Sharks 2 Barons 1.

The second period saw the play more evenly matched, with both teams determined to score, the end-to-end hockey entertaining the sizable crowd.   After 10 minutes of play Sharks took advantage of a Barons’ penalty to score on the powerplay, Gapa with the goal from a Rick Bentham pass at 30:34 – Sharks 3 Barons 1.  In the dying seconds of the period Sharks stretched their lead further, again utilising their powerplay to good advantage, Bentham passing to Liam Stenton who fed Boyd who beat Hewitt for Sharks’ fourth at 39:05.

The final period saw Barons make a bit of a comeback, Callum Bowley scoring their second after 25 seconds of play, assisted by Thomas Soar and Challans.  Capitalising on the shift in momentum they added another at 41:34 courtesy of James Smith, Challans again with the assist. The score now sat at Sharks 4 Barons 3.  To their credit the home team dug in and thwarted Barons’ attacks, while still making their presence felt at the other end of the ice, but the lack of bodies showed as Sharks began to tire.  They hung on to the final buzzer, successfully killing off two further Barons’ powerplay opportunities, and at the end of the game Sharks retained their 4 goals to 3 lead and claimed 2 valuable league points.  Man of the match for Sharks was Peter Gapa.

Afterwards coach Martin Grubb commented, “We knew coming into this game how good Solihull were and that we would need to be prepared and ready to dig deep.  We played well the first 2 periods and dominated the game and could have scored more goals. The 3rd period we came out flat and got punished with two very early goals which gave Solihull the momentum and we needed to use our timeout to reset and make sure we were ready to play.  After the timeout we were better and had our own chances to score but ultimately, we showed good character and desire to make sure we did what was needed to win the game. We were short benched, but we didn’t want that to be an excuse and the players dug deep and found a way to get the job done and they deserve huge credit for that. We now move on to the midweek exhibition game against Glasgow Clan next, and then a big weekend next week.”

Sharks are back in league action against Billingham Stars at Dumfries Ice Bowl on Saturday, with face off at the usual time of 7pm.


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