The Building Craftsmen (Dumfries) Ltd Solway Sharks maintained their group lead in the round-robin stages of the NIHL National Cup with a narrow two-one win at the Shark Tank on Saturday evening.
In the first period play constantly swung from end to end with little to separate the teams, but the goal judges were not to be troubled as both netminders Calum Hepburn and 18 year old Callum Reynolds made a number of excellent saves.
For the third cup game in a row the Sharks fell behind when a swift break up the right-hand boards saw Chris Sykes (23:59) collect a Deniss Baskatovs pass and neatly fire home past Hepburn. For the remainder of the period Solway pressed for an equaliser but it was starting to look like it wasn’t going to be the home sides night as a string of chances were squandered and a Vaclav Kolaric slapshot hit the underside of the crossbar but somehow stayed out of the net. On the Sharks second powerplay of the night the breakthrough finally came when Connor Henderson set up Vaclav Kolarik for another pile-driver that was redirected into the net by Stevie Moore (36:50) in the low slot.
In the final session Solway enjoyed a greater share of possession and Iain Bowie (45:52) gave them the lead when he neatly shot home his twelfth goal of the season after a Lewis Houston shot had been blocked. For the remainder of the game the visitors tried their best to level the scores but found that the Sharks defence had the door firmly bolted and behind them Calum Hepburn was solid as a rock and the home side calmly closed out the game.
A gallery of photographs from this match can be found by following this link.