The BCD Solway Sharks made it a clean sweep of the 2016/17 silverware on Sunday afternoon when they beat the Billingham Stars three-one to lift the NIHL (North) Moralee Conference Play-Off Trophy.
A goalless first period saw the Sharks control the larger percentage of play but couldn’t turn that possession into goals despite out-shooting the Stars by sixteen shots to eight.
Stung into action by Coach McMeeken’s first interval team talk Solway hit the ice for the second period with purpose and were quickly rewarded when Scott Henderson (21:34) found himself in the right place at the right time to score the opening goal after good build-up play from Kim Miettinen and Struan Tonnar. If the Sharks thought this might open the floodgates they were mistaken as Billingham fought hard to get themselves back into the game and there was to be no further scoring in the session.
The final period opened with a tense atmosphere with neither team willing to give an inch on the ice and both netminders in fine form when the defences were breached in front of them. A disputed hooking call on Joe Coulter gave the Stars a powerplay as the session progressed and Callum Davies (49:31 PP) levelled the scores to the Solway supporters dismay. Their heartbreak was to be short lived. Two minutes later Connor Henderson and Stevie Moore combined to set up Daniel Abercrombie (51:42) to give Solway the lead once more. With Billingham in disarray the Sharks went for the jugular and Juraj Senko (52:44) brought the puck through neutral ice before playing a one-two-one with Joe Coulter and finishing with style to give his side a three-one lead. Billingham tried hard to get back into the game but two late minor penalties on them put paid to any hopes of a late revival and Solway saw the game out without further incident to lift their third trophy of the season.
The Man of the Match Awards were presented to netminders James Flavell for Billingham and to Calum Hepburn for the Sharks.