The BCD Solway Sharks avoided a double Northern Cup setback on Sunday evening when they fought back from five-two down in the third period to stun the Billingham Stars with three unanswered goals to tie the match at five-five before hitting the winner in overtime to claim two sensational and unlikely points.
Billingham started the match strongly and always looked like they wanted the result more than the lack-lutre Sharks at 3:04. When Daniel Abercrombie went to the “sin bin” they increased their advantage to two at 6:23 on the resulting powerplay. Marc Fowley pulled one back at 8:15 on a five-on-three powerplay with an unassisted strike but the home side regained their two goal lead at 13:40 with another powerplay goal with Richard Bentham sitting out a tripping penalty. Two minutes later the score was four-one and it might have been worse but the under pressure Sharks somehow held out to the period buzzer.
For the second period Coach Grubb rang the changes, mixing up the lines in an attempt to inject some fight into his side and straight away it worked when Richard Bentham netted at 21:04 assisted by Duncan Speirs. Minutes later the Sharks thought they had reduced the arrears to one but the goal was ruled out for an extremely dubious goaltender interference call. Billingham added a third powerplay goal at 31:36 on a delayed penalty call while Kim Miettinen was sitting out a slashing minor. Despite outshooting the home side thirteen to seven Solway could not find another way past Mark Watson in the Stars goal.
Into the final session and it was all Sharks with wave after wave of attacks and with the Stars confined to hitting on the break. Watson was somhow keeping all Solway efforts out until Stevie Moore scored unassisted at 46:31 when a rebound wen in off his skates and, after much deliberation between the officials, the goal was given. Joe Coulter then reduced the deficit to one at 52:55 assisted by Connor Henderson and James Hutchinson. Richard Bentham tied the game at five-five with just over two minutes remaining and Solway almost sneaked the win in the last seconds but the chance went wide.
Into three-on-three overtime with no non-British trained players allowed and after scares at both ends of the ice Duncan Speirs netted the powerplay winner after 3:02 minutes which sparked much celebrations on the Solway bench. That dreadful first period aside the Sharks deserved to win outshooting the Stars by fifty shots to twenty-nine.