Juniors storm to victory
The Junior Solway Sharks were back in action last weekend after a break from fixtures and they were glad to be back in what turned out to be competitive games against near-neighbours Lanarkshire Lightning.
The U12s were first on the ice, welcoming their counterparts to the Ice Bowl on Saturday afternoon. The young Sharks looked keen and made a strong start, Tomas Vyrostek giving them an early lead with an unassisted goal after just two minutes of play. This lead was extended five minutes later when Jaiden Simpson found the net from a Ewan Duignan pass, the team working hard all over the ice.
Lightning managed to take advantage of a powerplay to sneak one past Braiden Howat in net seconds before the end of the first to make it Solway 2 Lanarkshire 1.
The second period saw Solway continue to play skilful hockey and this paid off with a powerplay goal coming from Cassie McGregor after some nice passing from Bailey Thomson and Vyrostek.
Again Lanarkshire pulled one back just before the end of the period, again on the powerplay, slipping the puck past Loan Reid who had taken over in nets and the end of the second period saw Sharks 3-2 ahead.
The final stanza saw Solway take charge of the play, McGregor opening the period with an unassisted effort straight from the faceoff to the back of the net in six seconds.
Lanarkshire did not give up and kept up their efforts, making Solway work for every puck, but the young Sharks kept their composure right to the end, when captain Owen Rae scored from the blueline to seal the deal, closing the scoring at 44.56 from Thomson and McGregor.
The final score was Sharks 5 Lightning 2 and Jaiden Simpson was man of the match for Solway.
Assistant coach Liam Stenton said: “The team did a great job today, I was proud of them all.
“They remembered what we have been doing in training and carried it into the game, showing the depth of talent we have in the team.
“They responded to what they were told during the game and made a good Lanarkshire team work for their goals. We took our chances well when we got them and the coaching team is delighted with the win.”
Sunday morning saw Lanarkshire arrive with their under 14 and under 16 teams to carry on the weekend games.
The under 14s were out first, keen to follow the example set by the U12s.
The team started off powerfully, U14s player of the match Jackson Collett opening their account with a fine unassisted shot from the blueline after only a minute and a half.
The team had barely stopped celebrating when Tomas Vyrostek stretched the lead with an unassisted goal of his own a minute later, taking the score to 2-0.
Lanarkshire were working hard as well and were quick to take their chance when presented with a powerplay, making the score 2-1 Sharks. After some even play Lanarkshire managed another at the 10 minute mark and the first period ended 2-2.
Play continued apace in the second period, Cassie McGregor with a quick goal in the second minute of play on the end of a Bailey Thomson pass. Lanarkshire were quick to respond, clawing one back.
The young Sharks kept the tempo up, Kyle Carruth was next on the scoresheet from a McGregor pass. The rest of the second played out with end-to-end, flowing hockey but no further goals and the buzzer saw Solway 4-3 ahead.
Solway kept their intensity up as the third period started and were unlucky to concede an early goal, Lanarkshire drawing even again.
Solway found reserves of energy and resumed their end to end attacking play and it was Carruth who put them back on the front foot with a powerful goal, Scott Kirkpatrick and Owen Rae working cleverly on the blueline before delivering the puck.
Regaining their momentum the Sharks kept up the attacks and minutes later Kirkpatrick found McGregor in space and she made no mistake in adding a lovely short-handed goal, making the score 6-4 to Solway.
There was no further scoring and the game finished with the team tired but happy, Cassie McGregor was MVP for Solway.
Coach Gary Carruth said: “I think we are really improving as a team. We out worked Lanarkshire the whole game and were rewarded for it. Cassie set the bar for the team; she worked hard all over the ice.”
The U16s followed onto the ice, looking for a victory of their own after being defeated at Lanarkshire recently.
Solway were quick off the mark in the first period, Scott Rae leading from the front and putting the team ahead with a splendid unassisted goal after merely a minute of play. Lanarkshire were very quick to respond, equalising within 30 seconds, two goals in the first two minutes showing intent from both teams.
Hard and fast play followed, lots of ice covered and numerous attempts on both goals but nobody could break the deadlock and at the first break the score was Solway 1 Lanarkshire 1.
Solway were fast out of the traps again for the second period and again it was a Rae unassisted goal that beat the Lanarkshire netminder, making the score 2-1 to Solway.
Lanarkshire worked hard but were unable to find a way past the Sharks defence and their workrate was more than matched all over the ice as Solway showed their determination.
Despite dictating the play, the Sharks found themselves even again when Lanarkshire snatched an equalising goal in the 24th minute, against the run of play.
Solway were resolute in their determination to get the win and threw everything into attacking the Lanarkshire net.
Rae struck again to take the lead, his hat-trick goal coming on the end of a smart Noah Kidd pass in the dying seconds of the period to see Solway lead by three goals to two.
There was no respite for Solway in the third, as they refused to rest on their laurels with a one goal lead, continuing their hard working performance, battling to win every puck.
A slew of penalties for both teams saw powerplay opportunities but none were converted and the final period was goalless.
At the end of the hard-fought game U12s man of the match Solway were 3-2 winners. Noah Kidd was man of the match for Solway.
Coach Carruth said: “We spoke about our poor performance a few weeks ago when we played Lanarkshire away and agreed that today only a win was going to be acceptable. Everyone worked hard today. We outworked Lanarkshire and we got the result in the end. I am proud of them all.”
Solway Sharks U16s team
Noah Kidd U16s man of the match.