Solway Sharks Ice Hockey Club


Match Report


This Saturday the Solway Sharks face one of their most anticipated challenges of the season so far when they face the Blackburn Hawks in a do-or-die cup clash at Dumfries Ice Bowl with the winner progressing to the two-legged Northern Cup Final against Sutton Sting. Currently Sutton sit atop the round-robin table with Blackburn level on points, but ahead of third placed Sharks, courtesy of a six-three victory at the Blackburn Arena back in December. Should the Sharks record any type of victory over Blackburn they will leap-frog their opponents and cement their place in the final in two weeks time. The last time the Hawks visited Dumfries the supporters were treated to a thrilling game that could have gone any way before Solway eventually prevailed one-nil. Face-off at Dumfries Ice Bowl is at the usual time of 7pm.


The Solway Sharks were on the road last Sunday when they made their way to Ice Sheffield for their final NIHL Moralee Conference fixture of the season. With the league title already retained the Sharks had little to play for other than pride but Sutton Sting had to win and hope that Whitley slipped up at home to Telford for them to make the play-off’s. In the end Sutton did all they could do with a four-two victory but Whitley claimed the last play-off place with a resounding eleven-nil win over Telford.

From the opening face-off Sutton caught the Sharks cold when Thomas Dant broke up the left before passing across the face of goal to Stuart Ashton who immediately sent the puck to the back post for Jamie Spurr to converted with just fifty-six seconds on the clock. Sutton had several chances to extend their lead over the next eight minutes but failed to capitalise due to a combination of sloppy finishing and good netminding from Kieran Hobbins in the Solway goal. Gradually the Sharks then came back into the game and could have punished their opponents but a string of missed chances of their own, combined with a couple of superb saves from Dmitri Zimozdra, saw the hooter sound for the first interval with no further scoring.

Sutton started on a powerplay after the break due to Juraj Senko’s hooking penalty late in the first period and Matt Jeffcock and Stuart Ashton took just twenty-nine seconds to work the puck to Ryan Johnson to score from the high slot. The Sharks responded strongly and within two minutes they were on the board after a surging skate down the left by Stevie Moore saw him feed Craig Thurston in the low slot. Zimozdra did well to block the forthcoming shot but could no nothing to prevent Pavol Melichercik converting the rebound with authority. Six minutes later Hobbins did well to block a low shot from Myles Dacres and from the rebound Solway counter-attacked and Zimozdra had to be at his best to save a Frazer Goldie slapshot,

However, the Sutton stoppers best save may have come a little later when he was forced to dive across his crease to stop a team-mates misplaced pass from crossing his goal-line. With three minutes remaining in the session Solway equalised with a powerplay goal when Stevie Moore and Struan Tonnar combined to work the puck across the blueline for Juraj Senko to power home a slapshot from the blueline. Parity was short-lived however, as within twelve seconds Matt Jeffcock picked off a loose pass in the Sharks “D” and rifled a shot into the roof of the Solway net to see the teams leave the ice with the home side three-two ahead at the second break.

The final session saw the Sharks try to fight their way back into the match but resolute defending and a string of fine saves from Dmitri Zimozdra kept them at bay. With six minutes to go a very obvious “too many men” call was missed by the referee and in frustration a thrown water bottle led to the Sharks being a man down and on a penalty-kill when it should have been the opposition. On the resultant powerplay Iain Bowie was sent clear up the middle of the rink but as he closed in on goal Zimozdra produced a tremendous save to deny the Solway sniper a short-handed goal. Thomas Stuart Dant collected the rebound and sped off down the left wing before passing inside for Jamie Spurr to cut inside his marker and add his second of the game with another fine finish from the slot. The final action of the game saw Stevie Moore denied by the home goal frame but overall it was a match where the Sharks had chances to win but Sutton needed and wanted the result more and were worthy winners.

Scoring statistics for the Sharks were as follows: Juraj Senko and Pavol Melichercik both one goal and no assists, Stevie Moore 0+2, Struan Tonnar and Craig Thurston both 0+1. Kieran Hobbins in the Sharks goal saved twenty-four of the twenty-eight shots that he faced (save percentage 85.71%). Stevie Moore was named the Sharks Man of the Match with two goal Jamie Spurr gaining that accolade for the home side.

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