Solway Shark Junior Teams Travel Far And Wide – Ice Hockey

Another busy weekend for the Junior Solway Sharks Ice Hockey teams saw the youngest players, the Under 12s, head off to Lanarkshire Lightning, while the Under 16s left for their first ever trip to Belfast.

The SK Joinery sponsored Under 12s hit the ice in confident fettle in Lanarkshire, but they found themselves on the back foot when Lanarkshire went ahead after a mere 22 seconds.  Solway regrouped quickly, and held off further Lanarkshire attempts on goal while setting up their own attacks.  Their patience and hard work paid off when Lewis Gibson got them on the scoresheet with a short-handed unassisted goal after 8 minutes.  This buoyed the team, and saw another unassisted goal, this time from Ewan Duignan, 2 minutes before the end of the first period, bringing the score to 2-1 Solway.

The Solway youngsters went back on the ice looking to improve on their lead, only to see Lanarkshire

fire two goals into the net in quick succession, to go a goal ahead.  The deficit increased on 26 minutes, when Lanarkshire scored again, putting them 4 goals to 2 ahead.  The young Sharks were swift to reply, Tomas Vyrostek scoring seconds later from a Gibson pass, before Ewan Duignan struck again with a fine solo effort to bring the score back on an even footing.  The goal-fest continued, with Lanarkshire scoring another in the final minute of the period, to see them go into the break with a 5 – 4 lead.


Lanarkshire opened the third with a goal within 33 seconds, but Solway kept battling away, and Gibson again found the net on 32 minutes, assisted by Scott Kirkpatrick, before scoring again a few minutes later with an unassisted effort, putting Solway back on an even footing at 6 goals all.  More fast and furious play followed, both teams giving it their all before Lanarkshire scored with 90 seconds of the game left, and sensing victory.  However, Solway had other ideas, and Gibson found the net with a short-handed solo goal 10 seconds later, and the game finished at 7 all.  Tomas Vyrostek was Solway’s man of the match.


After the game coach Jamie Thomson commented, “The under 12s fought really hard to come back from being down multiple times in the game.  To come back repeatedly was great, but we conceded on the penalty kill in the last few minutes of the game and had to dig in for a draw.  The Lanarkshire team were lead in scoring by a familiar face to us, and their whole team has improved this year so it wasn’t an easy game.  A much smaller ice surface, the early morning start and a few other situations our team just aren’t used too didn’t help us either.   During the game we took way to many silly penalties and that restricted ice time for some players on the team and disrupted our flow and the mood on our bench.  As these players get older that will need to stop as it will end up costing them games.


However, to not play to the best of our ability but still grind out a result in that game showed the character you need to succeed in this sport, and that in itself is as good as a win to me.  The hockey skills and the rest we can work on, but you can’t teach the kind of character these kids showed today.”




The Oakbank sponsored Under 16s headed across the water for the first time ever to take on Belfast in their home rink.  The team were delighted to receive a generous donation from Graham Construction that helped make the trip possible.


After a long bus trip and a thankfully smooth ferry crossing, the young Sharks were fast into the game, a play straight from the face off seeing Charles Leuvennink crossing to Aidan Nicol, who had no hesitation in smacking it into the net to put Solway ahead after only 16 seconds.  Quickly finding their rhythm, Solway showed their dominance, dictating the pace and the direction of play, despite Belfast’s best efforts and some very physical play.  Lewis Houston was next onto the scoreboard, capitalising on a powerplay, sending a Scott McCutcheon pass straight to the back of the net just after 4 minutes.  After some more pacy play, with Solway firmly in control, Nicol found the net again, a solo powerplay goal this time to put the Sharks 3 goals ahead on 11:30, a score which stood until the end of the period.


Comfortably ahead, Solway relaxed and the tempo of the game dropped a bit during the second.  Coach Jamie Kerr took the opportunity to rotate in all the younger players, giving them the opportunity to show how far they have come over the season, and there was some nice passing play and several close calls on the Belfast goal, which saw their netminder come to their rescue more than once.  With only one powerplay, one penalty kill, and no goals in the period the game meandered on until the buzzer sounded.  Netminder Joshua Leuvennink, having protected his net in the face of all Belfast attacks, made way for Rebekah Scott to take over.


Belfast hit the ice apace in the third, and came out in much more determined mood, immediately forcing a save from Rebekah, and keeping up a series of attacks and a barrage of shots.  They managed to sneak the puck through her five-hole on 34:29, the home crowd delighted with the goal.  More physical play followed, and despite numerous powerplay opportunities another goal eluded Solway.  They did manage to keep Belfast at bay, working hard on the penalty kill in the face of gritty and dogged attacks which kept Rebekah busy in net.  Solway finally found a way past the Belfast keeper with barely a minute of the game left, captain Lewis Houston with an unassisted goal making it 4-1 to Solway, which was the final score.  Aidan Nicol was Solway’s man of the match.


Coach Jamie Kerr said after the game, “We knew we’d have tired legs after a long bus and boat trip, as well as having an already short bench, and with a player or two playing having been ill this week getting the team in the mood to start well was paramount.  To their credit we dominated the first period and were deserved of our 3-0 lead.  In the second period we got the younger guys on a lot more, and this balanced things out a bit. When we hit penalty trouble in the final period, the experienced guys dug deep to kill it off when Belfast threatened to ask questions at 3-1.

We now have a home double header this weekend where we hope to take 4 points from our last home games of the season, as we look to build some momentum back up towards full games of high quality consistency, rather than spells, prior to our Scottish Cup final on 22nd April in Kirkcaldy.”


There are 3 games of Junior Ice Hockey at Dumfries Ice Bowl this weekend.  The Under 16s host Inverness at 4 pm on Saturday 1 April, followed by the Under 20s welcoming Kilmarnock at 5.30pm.  Sunday 2 April sees the Under 16s play their counterparts from Aberdeen at 11.30am.

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