On Sunday the BCD Solway Sharks made the relatively short journey across country to Whitley Bay but despite taking the lead early in the second period they ended up on the wrong side of a four-two scoreline.
Games against the Warriors are never easy and this is especially so on their home ice and the first period proved that this fixture would be no different. The home side knew that a victory would see them leapfrog the Sharks and move into fifth place in the league table and with this in mind they set about their game plan with determination. Every time a Solway player received the puck there was a Warrior in his face and whenever the home side found themselves in possession they attacked the Sharks at speed. All too often though the two sides cancelled each other out and scoring chances were at a premium. It was no surprise when the first interval arrived with the scores tied at zero.
After this rather pedestrian first period the game quickly sprung into life after the interval and within a minute the home fans were on their feet cheering only to be disappointed when they realised that the referee, Mr. Elliott had ruled the goal out as a Warrior was encroaching into the netminders crease. Solway immediately went onto the offensive and took the lead when Struan Tonnar (22:48) drifted into the high slot and fired home Scott Cooper’s pass.
Whitley gathered themselves after this setback and went into attack mode themselves and it was of no real surprise when Philip Edgar (26:14) leveled the scores from the left-hand face-off circle with a shot that beat Calum Hepburn at his near post.
Once more the game settled into a tactical battle between the two teams until the home side found their stride and took a commanding lead with three unanswered goals in the final five minutes of the period. A move up the left wing saw Barnes and Edgar combine before the latter laid a simple pass into the slot where Dean Holland (35:25) was completely unmarked and had the simple task of slotting the puck home.
Goal number three came when Solway lost possession deep in Whitley territory. Unfortunately the Sharks defense were changing lines on the fly at that moment and Jordan Barnes (37:55) was able to skate up the centre of the rink, pick his spot and score with ease. If the Sharks thought it couldn’t get any worse then they were wrong. An attempted clearance from behind their own goal was picked off and seconds later Philip Edgar (39:06) had netted to make the score four-one.
While Solway did their best to get back into the match in the final period the Warriors played a textbook defensive game and were rarely troubled. The one moment of hope for the Sharks came with a little under four minutes remaining when a spell of extended pressure saw Joe Coulter and Iain Bowie combine to allow Ross Murray (56:18) to net a consolation goal. Solway tried their best to fight their way back into the game in the closing minutes but the Warriors shut the door and closed out the game with no further incident.
Man of the Match for the Sharks was presented to Stevie Moore while netminder Richie Lawson picked up that honour for the Warriors.
A gallery of photographs from this match can be found by following this link.