Last Saturday the BCD Solway Sharks began their competitive season with a tremendous eight-five come-from-behind NIHL National Cup victory over the Blackburn Hawks and if this is a sign of things to come the season ahead looks bright for hockey supporters in Dumfries.
However, things looked bleak early on as the visitors raced to a three-nil lead through goals from Riddoch (00:44), Streetly (04:39) and Aaron Davis (12:35). Gradually though the Sharks began to find their feet and became a far more potent force with Fone in the visitors goal forced into making several excellent saves. The period looked like ending on that scoreline until Iain Bowie and James Hutchinson combined to allow Ross Murray (19:50) to give the Sharks hope with a goal from a very narrow angle with just ten seconds remaining in the period.
The outlook improved greatly for Solway as the second period got underway and a period of sustained pressure was rewarded when Daniel Abercrombie (25:41) fired home unassisted goal from the slot. Fourteen seconds later it became the Iain Bowie (25:55) show when he found the net with the first of his four goals on the night to level the scores. Jozef Istocy (28:44) soon netted to put the Hawks ahead again but a Solway powerplay soon saw Stuart Kerr (33:53 PP) in the right place at the right time to level the scores at four when he converted a pass from the irrepressible Bowie and that was how things stood at the second intermission.
In the third period the Sharks took control and Iain Bowie (41:12 PP, 45:39 and 52:17) added three more goals around a Richard Bentham (46:01) strike for the visitors. With a two goal cushion Solway played a professional game and kept their lively opponents at arms length and Calum Hepburn was rarely to be troubled seriously in the home goal. With time running out the Hawks withdrew their keeper in favour of an extra skater but when they lost possession Connor Henderson (59:55) concluded the scoring with an empty-net goal from his own defensive zone just five seconds from time.
Man of the match for the Sharks was Iain Bowie and Richard Bentham picked up the award for the visitors.
A gallery of photographs from the game can be found by clicking this link.