Solway Sharks Ice Hockey Club Weekly Roundup


Match Report



This weekend the Magnox Ltd. Solway Sharks are on the road for their final National Ice Hockey League fixture of the season, a trip to Ice Sheffield to play Sutton Sting. The team bus for this fixture will leave Dumfries Ice Bowl at 10:30am on Sunday morning and the cost will be £10 not including rink entry. Sharks supporters should take note that tickets for next months Play-Off Weekend here in Dumfries are selling fast and they should purchase their tickets on-line to ensure they don’t miss out on the action. Single game tickets will ONLY be available on match day if there are places available. Secure your place by getting your tickets from http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/search/Dumfries+Ice+Bowl+Dumfries



Last Saturday evening the Telford Tigers returned to Dumfries for the first time since they won the St Andrew’s Cup in an impromptu penalty shootout competition last November. Unfortunately the Ice Hockey Gods failed to shine on them this time around and the Sharks ran out comfortable winners by eleven goals to two.

Telford battled hard in the opening period and it took the Sharks until the eight minute mark to open the scoring through Ross Murray when he collected a Juraj Senko pass and skipped across the face of the Titans goal before pulling his shot back onto target from a narrow angle. The scorers were not to be troubled for another eight minutes Struan Tonnar and Mark Gallagher combined to set up Juraj Senko’s to blast home from the slot. Within seconds of the restart Tonnar was again the creator, this time for Ciaran Quinn, who was unlucky to be denied by the post. However, the respite for the visitors was not to last long. On the seventeen minute mark Solway stretched their lead to three when Gary Russell, vacating his goal to play as a forward for the evening, collected another neat pass from Tonnar and eased a back-handed shot past the Telford keeper from close range. A minute from time the Sharks advantage became four when Pavol Melichercik found his way onto the scoresheet. The Slovakian forward’s initial shot was blocked by netminder Gospel but he had the presence of mind to collect the rebound behind the goal-line and fire home a shot via that found the net via the keeper’s back.

To all intents and purposes the game was over as a contest at this point but Solway were determined not to let their momentum slip as we move towards the business end of the season and to this end they ran in six more second period goals. Within a minute of the re-start Ciaran Quinn had a little better luck in front of goal when Joe Coulter and Juraj Senko combined to set him up to score his first league goal of the season. Five minutes later Pavol Melichercik netted his second goal of the night with a neat finish from a Craig Thurston pass and just after the mid-way point in the game roles were reversed when Thurston shot home after a collecting a Melichercik pass. Just after the thirty-five minute mark Solway captain Mark Gallagher squeezed home sharks eighth goal from a narrow angle in a goalmouth scramble and he proved he was the “daddy” four minutes later with a shot into the roof of the Telford goal that sent the keepers’ water bottle flying. With just one second remaining in the session the Sharks made it into double figures when Juraj Senko sent a bullet into the net after being set up by Gary Russell and Mark Gallagher.

With the game won the Sharks may have taken their foot off the pedal a little in the final period but all credit to Telford as they never stopped trying and won the final session two-one. On the forty-three minute mark Berwyn Hughes and Simon Harrison combined to set up Callum Griffin to score with a shot that deputy netminder Andrew Little would probably want back. However the Sharks youngster produced a number of excellent saves in this game most notably right on the mid-way point when he spread-eagled himself to deny Paul Rigby. Seven minutes into the period Solway regained their ten goal advantage when Gary Russell found himself in the right place at the right time to prod home the rebound after Gospel had made a good pad save from Struan Tonnar. With six minutes remaining Telford completed the scoring with a well-taken consolation goal from Paul Rigby who fired home with conviction after collecting a Paul Davis pass. 

Scoring statistics for the Sharks were as follows: Juraj Senko two goals and four assists, Mark Gallagher 2+3, Gary Russell 2+2, Pavol Melichercik 2+1, Craig Thurston 1+1, Ciaran Quinn and Ross Murray both 1+0, Struan Tonnar 0+3, Iain Bowie, Frazer Goldie, and Joe Coulter all 0+1. Andrew Little in the Sharks goal saved fourteen of the sixteen shots that he faced (save percentage 87.50%). The PET Man of the Match Awards were presented to Gary Russell for the home side and to Sean Weeks for the visitors.


On Sunday the Solway Sharks, sponsored by Magnox Ltd, were on the road for a crucial Northern Cup fixture against old rivals the Billingham Stars knowing that a victory would be vital in their efforts to reach next month’s cup final. After a stuttering first period performance that saw them go a goal down the Sharks recovered their composure to play two period of outstanding hockey and claim an eight-two win.

From the opening face drop Billingham attempted to take control of the game while Solway were looking distinctly like they had bus legs. Gradually the hosts began to take a greater share of possession and territory but rarely looked like scoring until the referee, Mr. Brown, awarded the Stars a disputed penalty shot on Ross Murray’s trip. The result, however, was in no way controversial as Michael Elder went straight up the middle and fired home just inside the right-hand post. From then until the first interval play resumed in a similar pattern as it had before the opening goal with Billingham looking comfortable if not dominant.

Whatever coach Grubb said to his charges during the first break certainly worked as Solway returned to the ice for the second session a changed side. Immediately they went onto the offensive as wave after wave of attack headed towards the Billingham goal, something had to give and four minutes into the session it did. A bobbling puck in the Stars defence found its way into the right-hand face-off circle where Frazer Goldie was waiting to beat the keeper at his near post. Not content the Sharks continued to attack and took the lead three minutes later. When Pavol Melichercik collected a Craig Mitchell pass behind the Billingham goal he had the composure to wait patiently until Iain Bowie was able to find half a yard of space in the slot. That was all he needed and when the pass came his way the Solway marksman rifled home his shot.


The Sharks extended their lead to two with eight minutes remaining in the session when Pavol Melichercik picked up the rebound and shot home from the slot after Watson in the Stars goal had done well to make a pad save from another Bowie shot. The Solway onslaught was relentless and if it had not been for some excellent saves from Mark Watson then the Dumfries side would have been out of sight by the second interval. As it happened the Sharks did have one more second period goal in them which came with six minutes to play. Stevie Moore collected a Ciaran Quinn pass and shot for goal only to see Watson make another good pad save. Unfortunately for the Stars keeper, Ross Murray was waiting in the left face-off circle and was able to reach behind him and pull his shot back into the unguarded portion of the net.


The final period started with a powerplay coming Solway’s way with a holding call on James McCabe and with a man advantage the Sharks laid siege to the Billingham goal. Within a minute Struan Tonnar and Pavol Melichercik combined to send Frazer Goldie across the face of the home goal and the big D-man calmly slotted home at the far post. Four minutes later an Iain Bowie pass allowed Tonnar to close in on goal and as he approached the net he spotted a gap and neatly slotted the puck home between the keeper’s legs. Eight minutes into the final period more pressure on the Billingham goal saw Joe Coulter and Juraj Senko work the puck back to James Wallace at right point. The popular defenceman took aim and fired a slapshot through a crowded goalmouth that may have unsighted the keeper but the puck certainly found the net.


Billingham were not totally inactive through all of this and on the mid-way point in the match Luke Brown brought the best out of Gary Russell when the Sharks keeper denied the Billingham youngster with a terrific double pad save. With nine minutes remaining the Sharks produced a flowing move that saw Melichercik pick up a Tonnar pass and speed up centre-ice and, closing in on goal, he committed the keeper before lifting his shot over the keepers’ dive. Three minutes from time the Stars did give their supporters a consolation goal when James McCabe battled past a couple of challenges on a delayed penalty before driving his shot past Russell from six yards out.


Scoring statistics for the Sharks were as follows: Pavol Melichercik two goals and two assists, Frazer Goldie 2+0, Iain Bowie and Struan Tonnar both 1+2, James Wallace and Ross Murray both 1+0, Craig Mitchell 0+3, Gary Russell, Ciaran Quinn, Juraj Senko, Stevie Moore and Joe Coulter all 0+1. Gary Russell in the Sharks goal saved twenty-five of the twenty-seven shots that he faced (save percentage 92.592%). Two goal Frazer Goldie was named the Sharks Man of the Match.


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