Sharks put out dragons’ fire
Solway Sharks returned to winning ways on Saturday evening at the Shark Tank with a comprehensive 14-0 victory over an understrength Deeside Dragons side which had lost their head coach the previous Monday.
From the outset it was clear that the Dragons had come to defend with damage limitation foremost in their mind.
With that said, it took an extended five on three powerplay for the Sharks to open the scoring through Ross Murray and with the original penalty being a two plus two minor the Sharks retained a two man advantage. Twenty seconds later Solway doubled their advantage when Duncan Speirs netted his first goal back in Sharks colours.
After the first interval the Sharks continued their onslaught on the visitors goal and perhaps the only surprise was that they only ran in a further three goals courtesy of Connor Henderson, Kyle Horne and Vaclav Kolarik.
As the game moved into its final session, the floodgates finally gave way and the Sharks were able to run in a total of nine unanswered third period goals through Connor Henderson, Marek Charvat, Kolarik, Speirs, James Hutchinson, Joe Coulter and finally Scott Henderson.
Over the course of the game, the visitors can take heart from the fact that they didn’t let their heads drop until late in the game and from the performance of netminder Jonah Armstrong who made a string of fine saves and one superb glove save in the first period.
Man of the match for the visitors was presented to Geoff Wigglesworth and to Connor Henderson for the home side.
On Sunday evening the Sharks completed a very welcome four point weekend with an excellent ‘come from behind’ 5-3 victory over the Stars at the Billingham Forum and for the first time this season were able to include Jordan Buesa and Josh Grieveson.
For the opening 12 minutes there was little to choose between the two teams and they tended to cancel each other for much of the time at centre ice. The game suddenly sprung into life when Stuart Kerr sent Stevie Moore down the left wing to set up Ross Murray to score with a shot from a narrow angle that beat James Flavell at his near post.
The Billingham response was quick and decisive as Michael Elder fired home from the right-hand circle before Deniss Baskatovs gave his side the lead with a neat side-step and shot from the slot.
The Stars started the second period on a powerplay after Speirs had been called for a hook at the very end of the previous session and they soon made the Sharks pay a heavier price when the unmarked Chris Sykes scored from about three yards out.
The Sharks were soon on a powerplay of their own but left it until the final second to score when Connor Henderson and Moore combined to work the puck back out to Hutchinson to net with a slapshot through traffic from the blueline.
While neither side could be faulted for effort, there was no more scoring until the game moved into its final ten minutes when the Sharks moved up After the weekend’s four-point haul, Solway Sharks face two more vital fixtures this weekend in their pursuit of the NIHL Division 1 North title.
The Sharks, sponsored by Building Craftsmen (Dumfries) Ltd, are now back up to third in the league table, three points behind the league-leading Sheffield Steeldogs whom they meet on Saturday night at Dumfries Ice Bowl. Face-off is at 7pm.
On Sunday the Sharks make the long journey down to Nottingham to play the Lions at the Motorpoint Arena. Jordan Buesa in action against Billingham on Sunday
a gear to score three times without reply.
First off the mark was Speirs when he hit the target from the slot after good work on the back boards from Buesa.
Thirty seconds later Solway took the lead when provider became goal scorer as Buesa fired home a Hutchinson pass from the high slot.
Billingham tried their best to get back into the game but found that Solway had the back door fully bolted
and their luck finally ran out eighteen seconds from the end when they lost possession in Sharks territory where Charvat was on hand to fire home an empty net goal.
The man of the match award for the Sharks went to James Hutchinson for an excellent and composed performance while James Flavell was the equally deserving recipient for the Stars.