Junior Solway Sharks End Season on a High – Ice Hockey

The Oakbank Services sponsored Solway Sharks Juniors under 16s team brought a busy season of ice hockey to a close with 2 games a week apart.

Firstly, the team journeyed to Fife, where they faced the mighty Fife Flames in the Scottish Cup final.  Having battled hard to get to the final, the Sharks were determined to have their moment of glory, and were undaunted by their undefeated opponents.  The young Sharks took to the ice in resolute mood, and some fast-paced, furious play ensued.  When Fife scored after 4 minutes, past a hard-pressed Solway defence, the team was not intimidated, and kept up their previous pace and enthusiasm.  When Lewis Houston was tripped on the way to a sure-fire attempt on goal the referee was having none of it, and when Lewis slotted the resultant penalty shot to the back of the net in a stylish move, the Sharks found themselves level with the league champions after 11 minutes.  When Houston squeezed in an unassisted goal less than a minute later to put Solway ahead the team, and the travelling support, were in raptures, and Fife a little stunned.  The score remained until the end of the first period.

The second period was much harder for the smaller, less numerous Solway team, and they soon found themselves swamped by attacking Fife players, and Joshua Leuvennink in net for the Sharks found himself under a seemingly endless barrage of shots.  Despite the best Solway efforts, including numerous attacks on the Kirkcaldy net, and some classy passing play, they found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-2 scoreline at the end of the period.

The third period continued in the same vein, with Solway under pressure, but they kept their composure and played the hockey they have been taught all season, making plays and passes as they kept up their own pressure on Fife, but again they succumbed, and the final buzzer saw Fife 9-2 winners.  Solway captain Lewis Houston was the very worthy man of the match, and there were numerous comments around the large crowd about not only the gutsy Solway performance, but also their discipline and composure.  Coach Jamie Kerr said, “Solway Under 16s easily weigh in as the smallest and youngest squad in the league this year, and just getting to the final was a great achievement.  The first period saw the players execute perfectly in terms of speed, fluidity and attitude.  That Fife U16s team has won every league and cup title for the last 4-5 years, and we can hold our heads high.  They have only lost one period of hockey this season, and that was the first period here today to us.”


The U16s next game, playing rivals North Ayrshire at Kilmarnock, was a completely different game, with the young sharks dominating from the first whistle.  It was Liam Stenton who opened the scoring for Solway after 5 minutes, sending a pass from newbie Brodie McGinty into the top corner.  Lewis Houston was next on the scoresheet at 12:03, slotting home a pass from Jack Little who was playing as a forward, before swiftly following up with his signature unassisted goal, just 7 seconds later . The period finished 3-0 to Solway, who were easily dictating the pace and direction of the game.

Solway were quick to impress in the second, Jack Little finding the back of the net from Stenton after only 49 seconds.  North Ayr were starting to become more organised, and managed to pull one back on 24 minutes.  Undaunted, Jack Little again showed his mettle, scoring again on 27:31, assisted this time by his younger brother Joe, and Houston.  North Ayr scored again before the end of the period, despite hard work in defence from Andrew Robb and Jack Slater, this time past Joshua Leuvennink, who had replaced Rebekah Scott in the Solway net, and the Sharks went into the final break 5 goals to 2 ahead.

After a few quick words from the coach, Solway were again quick off the mark, Houston needing only 44 seconds to find the net, from Stenton and Jack Little, his hat-trick goal.  He was swiftly followed by Scott Rae with a grand unassisted goal on 31:34.  When Stenton scored from Houston on 31:59 Solway had scored 3 times in 3 minutes, and were 8 -2 ahead.  N Ayr replied on 32:29, and in a shooting  frenzy at both ends of the ice there were near misses and close calls on goal from Megan Gourlay, Matthew Watters, and Andrew Craik.  Scott McCutcheon scored next for Solway, with a fine unassisted shot on 33:48, swiftly following up with exactly the same goal again a minute later to bring the score to 10-3.  North Ayr managed to pull back another 2 in fairly quick succession, but they could not really match the pace or accuracy of Solway’s attack.  When McCutcheon scored his hat-trick goal on 42:27, again with a solo effort, to put Solway 11-5 ahead the team and the crowd were delighted.  North Ayr kept plugging away, and managed to sneak another in the final minute to make the final score 11-6 to Solway.  Brodie McGinty, making his debut with the team, was Solway’s man of the match.

Coach Jamie Kerr commented, “It was nice to finish the season with a deserved win.  Everyone contributed to the game, and was nice to see Jack Little, out of position by playing forward, netting two goals, and really good to see Scotty McCutcheon score 3 bullets for his first ever hat-trick from defence.  The young guys have been crucial in keeping this team going this season at the sacrifice of their own 14s team, and their increased ice time and reliability on leaning on them in close situations speaks volumes of their development since August.  A great sign off to a very productive, educational and successful season.”

The junior Sharks are already looking forward to next season, and are actively recruiting new and returning players.   For details of how to get involved please contact Dumfries Ice Bowl on 01387 251300.

Attached photograph shows the Under 16s after their Scottish Cup final game.

Latest Articles