After a nip and tuck opening fifteen minutes where neither team was able to totally dominate their opponents the Sharks sprang into life and finally opened the scoring. After picking up a loose puck in the Barons defensive zone Iain Bowie found himself with no route to goal but had the vision to see Ross Murray (15:10) in free space to the right of the Solihull goal. Murray collected the pass and from a tight angle he picked his spot before firing his shot through the narrowest of gaps between the keepers’ pads and the goalpost.
Inspired by this the Sharks went looking for blood and soon doubled their advantage. This time it was Bowie (18:04) who collected a pass from Murray and closed in on goal before lifting his shot over the keepers’ pads and into the net from close range.
In the second period the Barons showed that they hadn’t simply travelled all the way to Dumfries for the scenery and gradually fought their way back into the game and reduced the deficit to one when Matthew Maurice (25:28) collected a pass from Philip Mulcahy and finally found a way past the impressive Calum Hepburn.
Much of the remainder of the period was something of a stalemate as both teams defended the centre of their zones doggedly, often forcing play out wide to the boards. On the few occasions when either teams’ defences were breached netminders Daniel Brittle and Calum Hepburn made some excellent saves.
The final session was a close-fought affair and, while Solway always held a slender advantage, the result was never a foregone conclusion. In the end three powerplay goals were to decide the result. Firstly Vaclav Kolarik (50:39) gave Solway a three-one lead when he converted from the edge of the crease after some intelligent passing between Daniel Abercrombie and Connor Henderson.
The visitors, however, refused to lie down and Niklas Ottoson (54:59) gave his side real hope when he scored from close range after a Luke Brittle shot had been blocked. With two minutes remaining and the Barons were pushing hard for an equaliser when previous hero Maurice took an unnecessary minor for tripping which immediately took the pressure off the home side.
Marek Charvat (59:53) was obviously still annoyed to give away the penalty leading to the Solihull second goal and on the next Solway powerplay he proceeded to waltz Senko-like through the Solihull defence and net from close range after a neat one-two with Bowie.
The win was no more than the Sharks deserved from the game but they were made to fight all the way for victory by a dogged and determined Solihull side that showed a fair degree of skill when the opportunity arose.
Both netminders, Calum Hepburn for the Sharks and Daniel Brittle for the Barons, picked up the Man of the Match Awards.