The BCD Solway Sharks got back to winning ways on Saturday evening with a six-two victory at the Shark Tank against a hard-working Nottingham Lions side.
Early in the first period there was little to choose from between the two teams as the Sharks looked for a way to unlock the well-organised Lions defence but were foiled by some determined defending. For their part the visitors, while determined to keep the back door firmly locked, were speedy and extremely dangerous on the counter attack.
On the rare occasions where either defence was breached the respective netminders, Calum Hepburn and James Hadfield, both showed that they were in excellent form. With just over nine minutes to go in the opening period the breakthrough finally came. Stevie Moore and Connor Henderson combined to set up James Hutchinson (10:56) to score with a slapshot from the blue-line that took a wicked deflection from a defenders stick on its way towards the Nottingham goal leaving the keeper with no chance to make a save. Despite plenty of effort from both sides that was the way the score remained at the first interval.
The second period carried on in much the same fashion with the home side pressing but the visitors putting up a stiff defence and breaking at speed when the occasion allowed. Nottingham were quickly rewarded for their counter-attacking efforts when Cameron Pyewell (22:01) found himself in the right place at the right time to level the scores from a Joe Aston pass.
The Sharks redoubled their efforts and their pressure eventually paid dividends when Vaclav Kolarik (28:31) gave his side the lead with a powerful wrist shot from the high slot after an Iain Bowie shot had been charged down. Again the teams continued to provide plenty of entertainment for the crowd but scorers remained untroubled and the second intermission arrives with Solway holding a slender two-one advantage.
In the final session the Sharks started strongly and a defensive mistake allowed Ross Murray to set up ace marksman Iain Bowie (41:09) to put Solway two goals clear. However, it was to be two goals in eighteen seconds that finally swung the game firmly in the home sides favour.
A powerplay gave Kyle Horne and Vaclav Kolarik the time and space to set up Iain Bowie (48:27) to score his eighteenth goal of the season and the Lions had barely time to reorganise before Scott Cooper and Scott Henderson combined to allow Struan Tonnar (48:45) to find the net to make the score five-one.
The visitors bravely rallied and were again rewarded with a counter when Ondrej Pniok (52:40) pounced after creative play from Stanley and Wright allowed the Lions to reduce the deficit to three. The final word, however, went to the home side when a five-on-three powerplay gave Stevie Moore (58:39) the time and space to score from a narrow angle after being set up by an unselfish pass from Connor Henderson.
Man of the Match Awards went to Cameron Pyewell for the Lions and to Calum Hepburn for the Sharks.
Photographs from this match can be found by following this link.