The BCD Solway Sharks returned to top form and to third place in the NIHL North 1 (Moralee) for one night at least with an excellent nine two victory over old adversaries the Blackburn Hawks at the Shark Tank on Saturday evening.
There was little to suggest in the fairly even opening exchanges that this fixture would turn into a goal fest as each team prodded and probed for an opening in the others defence with Daniel Abercrombie coming closet with an effort from the slot. That opening was to come courtesy of Vaclav Kolarik (12:24) when Ross Murray and Duncan Speirs combined to allow the big defenceman to score with a low drive from central on the blueline. The visitors regrouped and Aaron Davies twice went close to levelling the scores before the Sharks again began to gain the upper hand.
Two goals in thirty-two seconds as the period drew towards its conclusion were to prove the Hawks undoing giving them a mountain to climb that they rarely looked like doing from that point on. Firstly a Stevie Moore pass from the left-hand face-off circle found Ross Murray free and while his low shot was blocked by Stuart Ashton’s pads Duncan Speirs (18:25) was on hand to slide the rebound home from the edge of the crease. With the scent of blood in the air the Sharks swarmed forward from the restart and a Scott Henderson pass sent Vaclav Kolarik into the Blackburn defensive zone. The big Czech would have been quite within his rights to shoot for goal himself but unselfishly opted to lay off the perfect square pass for Connor Henderson (18:57) to score from the slot.
Solway started the second period strong and within seven minutes had extended their lead to five. Firstly Duncan Speirs (23:16) collected the puck on the right wing after good work from Vaclav Kolarik and Ross Murray but with no one open the Solway sniper tried a speculative shot from the goal line that found the net via the back of the keepers pads. Speirs (26:14) was soon on the score sheet again when he collected a Kolarik pass behind and to the left of the Blackburn goal. This time he neatly stepped inside a Hawks defenceman, swept around in front of the visitors goal and lifted his shot over the netminders despairing dive.
To their credit the Hawks never gave up on the game but there was just no spark to their play despite the constant vocal encouragement from their travelling support. Even the pugilistic efforts of Ollie Lomax, against Struan Tonnar, and Robert Streetly who went toe-to-toe in an extended contest with Ross Murray failed to inspire a recovery on this occasion.
The Hawks had to hit hard and fast in the final session if they were to have any hope at all of rescuing something from the game, however, it was to be the Sharks who struck first to extend their lead. A Vaclav Kolarik pass sent Duncan Speirs around behind the Hawks goal and he had the presence of mind to look up supply the ammunition for Stevie Moore (43:00) to score from the low slot. Better was still to come as the increasingly impressive Vaclav Kolarik (44:35 pictured) picked up a loose puck in his own “D” a sped down the right wing before cutting inside the last Blackburn defender. With just the keeper to beat he swung across the face of goal and with the keeper committed he lifted his shot into the roof of the net to score the goal of the game.
The Solway scoring spree was far from over. Goal number eight came when Stevie Moore (45:04) won a face-off to the left of the Hawks goal, Vaclav Kolarik faked a shot but allowed the puck to run on to Duncan Speirs whose wayward shot was re-directed into the net by Moore. Blackburn’s efforts were justly rewarded and their travelling support able to cheer loudly as Aaron Davies (49:40 & 55:54) netted either side of Solway’s ninth goal which was scored by Struan Tonnar (55:37) when a Marek Charvat sent him through to on goal to score with a wicked wrist shot from the left-hand circle.
Man of the Match for the Hawks was presented to Ollie Lomax for the Hawks and to Duncan Speirs for the Sharks.
Full match video coverage courtesy of Duncan Speirs
Post match interview with Ross Murray and Martin Grubb