Sharks Lift Paly-Off Trophy As Captain Signs Off
There was mixed emotions around the Shark Tank on Sunday afternoon. The Sharks duly captured their first NIHL Moralee Conference Play-Off title and our captain, Mark Gallagher gave a solo lap of honor around the rink as DJ/Announcer Craig Simpson informed the crowd that this was to be Mark's last game.
Over the years Mark has been an inspirational leader who has represented our club with dignity, resilience and determination. A measure of Mark's integrity is the esteem in which he is held not only here in Dumfries but throughout the league.
The game itself was unfortunately not the best advert for the game and the first period turned into something of a "penalty fest" with the two teams accumulating no less than fifty-eight minutes in penalties. Sixteen to the Sharks and forty-two to the Hawks. The game itself was fought out around centre-ice with scoring opportunities at a premium and it was no surprise when the players headed to the dressing-rooms with no score on the scoreboard.
The second session saw the teams settle down and begin to play more hockey but the score reminded blank until Juraj Senko (39.12) collected a Mark Gallagher pass. A side-step and a bodyswerve took him past two Blackburn D-men before his shot from the left face-off circle found the net through a gap in Brittle's defences.
In the final period bad temper constantly bubbled below the surface and there were certainly enough talking points to keep hockey fans talking throughout the summer. Netminder Gary Russell had to be at his best at times to preserve his shut-out and the Hawks stretched but never breached the Solway rearguard. Overall though Solway looked slightly the stronger side and Struan Tonnar (57:13) eased the home fans nerves when he collected the puck and charged up the centre of the rink before firing the puck into the roof of the Blackburn net.
Full match report to follow.
Sharks To Play Hawks In Season Finale
The Solway Sharks met the Whitley Warriors in the first NIHL Moralee Play-Off Weekend Semi-Final at Dumfries Ice Bowl on Saturday afternoon and produced a professional performance to win through by six goals to three.
After a tense start Craig Thurston (09:49 pictured) opened the scoring for the Sharks but the Warriors regrouped and Jamie Tinsley (13:15) equalised with a powerplay goal. It didn't take Solway long to regain the lead and three unanswered strikes from Stevie Moore (15:26 powerplay), Craig Thurston (16:18) and Frazer Goldie (19:23) gave them a comfortable first interval cushion.
Whitley fought back with a Callum Watson (23:01) strike early in the second period but a powerplay goal from Struan Tonnar and (28:09) and an Iain Bowie (34:57) gave them a four goal advantage at the second intermission. In the final session the Sharks controlled much of the play and were rarely forced out of second gear with only Adam Reynolds (49:43) troubling the scorers with a powerplay goal.
The second semi-final, by contrast, was a far closer affair and could have gone either way right to the end. Somewhat against the run of play the Billingham Stars took a two goal lead into the first interval with two strikes from Stephen Wallace (13:31 powerplay & 18:50). After the first interval the Blackburn Hawks came roaring back and a brace from Aaron Davies (21:31 & 37:53) leveled the scores. The final period and five minutes of sudden-death overtime failed to separate the teams and it took a penalty shootout won by the Hawks to send them through to Sunday's Play-Off Final.
Full match report to follow.
Sharks Lotto Re-stats Next Season With Jackpot At £1,150
The Solway Sharks Lotto was not won again last Saturday so once more rises by £50 and will be worth £1,150 when it re-starts next season. Get your lotto tickets at the Merchandise Stall on Saturday night or see Rab or Graham to arrange to have your numbers entered automatically each week.