Solway Sharks Ice Hockey Club


  Match Report



This weekend the Magnox Ltd. Solway Sharks have no fixture due to the Men’s Under 18’s World Championships being played at Dumfries Ice Bowl. Next weekend the Sharks meet Sutton Sting in the two-legged KD Flavell & Sons Northern Cup Final with the home leg being on Saturday evening at Dumfries Ice Bowl. Supporters who wish to travel to the away leg on Sunday are advised that places on the team coach are already over-subscribed and the club are looking into the possibility of running a party bus to this game. If you would like to book your seat on the bus please visit Sharkey’s Bar in the Ice Bowl this weekend and make sure of your seat. The cost will be just £20 (not including rink entry) and seats are strictly on a first come, first served basis. Come along and give the lads the support they deserve in what is sure to be a thrilling match.



Last weekend the Solway Sharks, sponsored by Magnox Ltd, welcomed the Blackburn Hawks back to the Shark Tank for a winner-takes-all Northern Cup fixture with the winner progressing to the two-legged cup final against Sutton Sting. After a thrilling match, where possession and territorial advantage swung first one way and then the other, the Sharks eventually blanked the third period to prevail by four goals to three.


From the opening puck drop it was clear that both sides had come into this game with an attacking game plan as whenever they gained possession there was only one direction that the puck was going. However, it was the home side who were to be first on the scoreboard two and a half minutes into the game. Receiving the puck on the right Craig Thurston sped up the right wing before spotting Iain Bowie free to his left. The Solway sniper might have shot himself but chose to lay a perfect reverse pass into the slot for Pavol Melichercik to slam home the opener. Two minutes later the Sharks received a penalty for an icing infringement when the referee adjudged that they had attempted to change lines illegally and the visitors were a man up. Fifteen seconds later the puck found its way to Matthew Viney in the right-hand face-off circle and he fired in a powerful shot that netminder Kieran Hobbins could only parry into the slot where Aaron Davies was waiting to slot home the equaliser.


Play quickly settled into an even contest where both sides attacked when they had the puck but found the opposing defencemen well-drilled and determined to hold their lines and netminders Kieran Hobbins and Daniel Brittle looked capable of handling the few meaningful shots that came their way. On the thirteen minute mark a neat piece of stickwork took Pavol Melichercik across the face of the visitors’ goal from right to left but as he sped past the netminder he couldn’t quite pull his shot back onto the target. Ninety seconds later Solway got their breakthrough when Ross Murray pounced to stab the puck home after Daniel Brittle could only parry Juraj Senko’s slapshot from the high slot.


Thirty seconds later Solway doubled their advantage on a delayed penalty call on Blackburn captain Jared Owen. Solway had possession on the right wing and, as Thurston and Melichercik worked the puck between them, Owen showed he was more interested in cross-checking an opponent than covering the danger man allowing Iain Bowie acres of space behind him to fire home from the slot. The visitors needed to hit back quickly and with thirty seconds remaining in the period they did. A Jared Owen pass found Chris Arnone left of goal and, although there were defenders between him and the target, he calmly drew the keeper and first defender to him, before a neat side-step to his right opened up a passing channel to allow Adam Brittle to score from close range at the back post.


Seconds after the start of the second period the Sharks might have extended their lead when Iain Bowie created a shooting chance for himself but unfortunately for him the puck deflected just wide of the target from a Hawks skate. The visitors gathered possession and mounted an attack of their own which saw Kieran Hobbins do well to block a shot that was redirected by the stick of Aaron Davies. Three minutes into the session a speculative shot by Alan Crane from the blueline was tipped by Ross Murray which brought out an excellent reaction save from netminder Brittle. Unfortunately the rebound fell kindly for Stevie Moore to collect and slip his shot home below the keepers’ despairing dive.


Play returned to a fairly even battle from this point with both defences generally holding their line and forcing their opposing forwards into shooting from distance. When the defences were breached both netminders came into their own most notably with a superb glove save be Brittle from a Bowie shot and an equally good low block by Hobbins to deny Davies. It was looking like Solway would take a two goal cushion into the second interval when Blackburn shocked the home support. Adam Brittle robbed a Sharks forward on the left-hand boards and quickly found Chris Arnone ahead of him. Once more the Blackburn captain took his time before threading the perfect pass for Aaron Davies to convert from close range at the back post.


The Sharks had a golden opportunity to once more give them selves a two goal advantage when penalties on Aaron Davies and Rick Ravey gave the home side a five-on-three advantage for forty seconds but the Blackburn defence stood tall and saw off the danger. Chances during the third period were at a premium but just after the mid-way point Solway might have notched a short-handed goal when Ross Murray picked off a loose pass and sped up centre-ice but under pressure his shot was just the wrong side of the post. Seconds later Murray again picked off a loose pass in the middle of the rink, this time from the Hawks netminder, he chose to shoot early before Brittle could regroup but his shot was wide left.


A questionable high-sticks call on Coulter gave the Hawks a late powerplay but even when they pulled their netminder with a minute to go they couldn’t find the key to unlock the resolute Sharks defence and the home side were able to run down the clock to record a thrilling victory.


Scoring statistics for the Sharks were as follows: Iain Bowie, Pavol Melichercik and Ross Murray all one goal and one assist, Stevie Moore 1+0, Craig Thurston 0+2, Juraj Senko and Alan Crane both 0+1. Kieran Hobbins in the Solway goal saved thirty-two of the thirty-five shots that he faced (save percentage 91.43%). The Alive Radio Man of the Match Awards were presented to Stevie Moore for the home side and to Aaron Davies for the visitors.

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