The BCD Solway Sharks travelled down to North Wales on Sunday to face the Dragons and came back with an important, if somewhat unconvincing, six-three road victory.
The Sharks were surprised to find themselves defending in the early stages of this match as the Dragons surged forward forcing Calum Hepburn to make several excellent saves to keep the scores level. Gradually though Solway began to find their feet and turn the pressure on the home goal. With four and a half minutes gone they duly opened the scoring when Scott Henderson (04:31) collected Struan Tonnar’s pass and fired home from close range via the netminder’s shoulder. One quickly became two when Scott Cooper returned the rebound from Connor Henderson’s shot back into the slot for Scott Henderson (08:29) to fire home his second counter of the night.
The Sharks were on a roll and the Dragons defence was now being stretched time after time. This most likely forced the error that allowed Lewis Houston (09:29 pictured) to pick up a loose puck in the home goalmouth and slide his shot past the helpless netminder to make it three-nil. The home side tried their best to stem the tide but the Sharks had the smell of blood in their nostrils and soon made if four when James Hutchinson and Joe Coulter to set up Iain Bowie (12:22) to score with a neat wrist shot and that was how the score would stay until the first interval.
As the home side returned to the ice their supporters must have wondered what could be done to keep the score down but, as it turned out, they were soon to be cheering. As the Sharks failed to clear their lines Ross Kennedy’s speculative shot was blocked well by Calum Hepburn but Chris Jones (21:55) was first to react and quickly whipped the puck into the back of the Solway net. With the visitors clearly stunned the Dragons pounced for a second time when James Shaw and Kenneth Williams combined to send Owen Bennett (22:44) through on goal to reduce the deficit to two.
The revival may well have continues but a bench penalty for too many men on the ice gave the Sharks defence a well needed breather. On the resulting powerplay Joe Coulter (25:46 PP) found himself in the right place at the right time to prod home the rebound after Dominic Jolly had blocked Iain Bowie’s initial effort. Note: the referee mistakenly awarded this goal as an unassisted goal to Lewis Houston. Now Solway had the bit between their teeth again and almost immediately regained their four goal advantage when Joe Coulter (26:18) found the net for a second time when he converted Lewis Houston’s pass from the low slot. For some reason Solway failed to push on from this point and the game lapsed into something of a stalemate and there was to be no further scoring before the second intermission.
Once again the Solway travelling support must have expected their favourites to push on in the final period but for some reason the will just wasn’t there and the scorers were not to be troubled until the Dragons pounced late in the game. This time Chris Jones (55:25) picked up a loose puck to the right of the Sharks goal and, with no challenge coming his way, he closed in on goal before lifting his shot past the netminder. Solway finally responded to this setback and could have extended their lead once more but they squandered several chances in a late rally. In the end there was to be no further goals and the game ended with the scoreboard showing a six-three victory to the Sharks.
The Man of the Match Award was presented to Lewis Houston for the Sharks and to Dominic Jolly for the Dragons.