Solway Sharks U16’s Unbeaten & Clear At The Top

The Solway Sharks U16’s team enjoyed double success at the weekend taking them to an unbeaten top of the Scottish League with victories over North Ayr Wild and Lanarkshire Lightning respectively


The  U16’s team were at the halfway point in their season, having played 9 and won 9 going into this double header weekend. It was going to be difficult; as the team had no training ice for the past few weeks due to the fantastic facilities at Dumfries Ice Bowl hosting a Women’s International Ice Hockey tournament, followed by an international curling competition.


Head coach, Ross Murray, was away playing with the Senior Solway Sharks, so Coach Jamie Thomson was taking the reins. The U16s were short benched with 2 regular picks out, Ewan Duignan our stalwart defencemen currently injured and Cassie McGregor on assistant captain duties with Team GB Girls u16s.


This meant giving u14 players Stewart Hannah, Kieran Handleigh, Rhys Hopper and Dale Nelson the call up to the next level all 4 players making a good account of themselves boding well for the future.


North Ayr Wild, the Saturday night game faced off at 7.30pm and it started at a quick pace, North Ayr conceding a penalty in the first minute. The sharks were unable to capitalise on this when Lucas Campion took a penalty just a few seconds later.

It took until 10:27 played in the first period when a strong pass from Owen Rae set up Bailey Thomson for the opening goal as his shot from the high slot beat the netminder. The play was pretty evan for the remainder of the 1st period and ended 1 -0 Solway.


Both net-minders were put through their paces early in the 2nd period with shots on goal mounting, Samuel Wojick, Sam Stoodley and Owen Rae were rock solid in front of net-minder Logan Reid to block the North Ayr advances. Tomas Vyorstek scored to put Solway 2-0 in front after a good heads up play from Bailey Thomson to find Tomas who made no mistake in finishing top corner.


The game got a bit feisty, and Taylor Carruth saw himself being sent to the penalty box halfway through the second period. North Ayr then lost a player, put out of the game for a boarding call after a nasty hit from behind on Bailey Thomson. With players sitting penalties, it was time for Sharks to put out their power play line and after some well worked play between Lee’s, Thomson & Vyorstek  Owen Rae rifled the puck home with a laser shot from the point, 3-0 to the sharks.


The Sharks continued to work hard, maintaining their discipline and composure on the puck. When a nice play between Owen Rae and Bailey Thomson created an opening for Connor Lee rifled a shot into the bottom corner and extended the lead to 4-0.


A momentary lapse in concentration saw North Ayr pull a goal back despite a great effort from Owen Rae on the back check he couldn’t prevent the rebound being touched home with 5 minutes of the third period remaining but that was to be the only consolation goal for North Ayr as the game ended and Solway made a 2nd victory over North Ayr this season.


Logan Reid given the nod for Man of the Match after a solid performance in net.


Sunday morning saw an early start for the team, heading to the Time Capsule to play Lanarkshire Lightening U16s at 10am. Again, the team was short benched although Cassie McGregor returned from GB duties and our newbies, who played well on Saturday night, returned for this game. The rink is small and compact, and it means a different style of play is needed. It started at a furious pace, with quick changes needed to keep everyone fresh. There were lots of shots on goal and again Logan Reid was solid in nets. Our forward players including Cassie McGregor, Taylor Carruth and Lucas Campion were peppering shots off the Lanarkshire net-minder, who held firm, neither team scoring. When the referees awarded a penalty shot to the Sharks after a trip on Tomas Vyorstek while he was clean in on goal, Bailey Thomson stepped up and with a nice move shot the puck through the netminders legs to put the sharks up 1-0.

This opened things up and Vyorstek found himself in space just before the buzzer signalled the end of the first period and made no mistake with the finish pushing the lead to 2-0 and the end of the 1st.


Fired up by the 1st period performance the team started quick, and Connor Lee put a third goal passed the Lightening defence after a great end to end skate which gave the Lightning no chance.


Owen Rae was up next scoring his trademark bomb from the point after a great play from Thomson 4-0 Solway.


The supporters could be forgiven for thinking it was in the bag however a lack of discipline from Solway in the 2nd period let the Lanarkshire side back into the game capitalising on 4 powerplays to bring the scored back to 4-3. This was a wakeup call for the Sharks and the combination of Vyorstek, Thomson and Lee widened the gap again after some superb passing ending the period 5-3 Sharks ed of 2 periods.


Coach, Jamie Thomson, took the short stoppage to reset the team. A controlled and disciplined third period saw strong defensive work from the whole team that allowed the class of the Solway attack to create some great plays and slice the Lanarkshire defence apart, with four even handed goals being scored in the 3rd period between plays from Thomson, Lee, Rae and Vyorstek the Lanarkshire side had no answer and the game was over at 9-3 Solway.


The home team selected Owen Rae as Sharks Man of the Match after a solid overall performance from the Scotland Defenceman.


4 Points in the bag for Solway sharks under 16s now sitting at the top of the league unbeaten playing 11 and won 11 with only 6 games to go and the small matter of a Cup Semi Final.


Coach Jamie Thomson said reflecting on the game “ This team has really matured this season under Ross’s guidance and deserve the success they are getting, Every player worked extremely hard and really bought into team first mentality which is what we preach from the top down in our club, Some of the play over the 2 games was exceptional and the goals top class, It was great to see and I enjoyed working with them over the weekend, No doubt see a few of these guys more and more over the coming months with the Senior team.


Next up are Kirkcaldy this Saturday away from home which will be a tuff test for the team followed by an away day in Belfast. Huge thanks go to the players families and support networks for all the effort making these games possible and a big thanks to our sponsor Solway Heating services.

These players showcase some of the best junior hockey you will see in this country come along to the next home game to see the future of the Solway Sharks.


Anyone interested in playing ice hockey should contact Dumfries ice Bowl 01387 251300 or Solway Sharks Junior Ice Hockey club @ [email protected].

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