Solway Sharks v Leeds Knights

The Hercules Apparel sponsored Solway Sharks welcomed the Telford Tigers to the Dumfries Ice Bowl for the first time this season, and were looking to build momentum after their huge 5-4 overtime win against the Hull Seahawks. 

The Tigers, who currently sit 6th & are just 5 points ahead of the Sharks in 10th place, were looking to cause an upset in front of another record crowd for the Sharks – including a large number of traveling fans for the Tigers who made the journey up the M6.

The first period saw end-to-end action, as both teams looked to test the waters. The Sharks were able to get the first chance of the evening, but were forced wide on the attempt with 1:30 gone in the period. 

As the Tigers continued to build pressure on Curtis Warburton in the Sharks net, the Rotherham native covered all shots at him not wanting to risk an early error, especially with the likes of Jesse Sutton causing all kinds of trouble around the Sharks net.

Down the other end of the ice, Brad Day was dealing with all the chances the Sharks could throw at him during the period, including a number of huge chances from Craig Peacock & John Dunbar. Despite these chances at either end of the ice, neither team was able to take the lead after the first 20 minutes of play.

The beginning of the second period saw more end-to-end hockey from both sides. With 18:20 to go in the period, the Sharks were creating plenty of chances in & around Days’ net, including a number of opportunities for Liam Stenton to put the home side ahead.

However, as the period progressed, the Tigers began to take more shots from outside the traditional shooting lanes, forcing a number of big blocker saves from Warburton.

Despite this pressure from the visitors, when the Sharks were able to get a chance on Tigers’ net – they were up close chances, right in front of the net, but Day was able to deal with all of them – partially through skill, partially through luck. As these chances began to mount for the Sharks, they began to show they were more then capable of matching the visitors.

As the game approached the halfway point, it was clear both teams remained cagey – with neither side giving up a golden scoring chance to their opposition. 

The first penalty of the game was called against Sharks’ Kell Beattie with 11:31 to go in the 2nd, as he was deemed to have slashed one of the Tigers players. Despite the man advantage, the Tigers were forced to work hard on their power play, as the Sharks made them work for each inch of the ice – and eventually killed the penalty with ease.

It wasn’t long after that the Sharks were on a power play of their own, as with 7:02 to go in the period, the Tigers’ Connor Lee was given a 2 min sit in the penalty box for for holding. A shorthanded attempt on net saw Warburton’s stick broken, giving the home fans a nervous few moments until he was able to be given another. As the Sharks began to take shots on the Tigers net, the Tigers’ Mitchel King was unfortunately on the receiving end of a puck to the face, as he blocked a shot on goal from the Sharks. Despite huge effort, the Sharks power play unit were unable to take advantage of the man advantage & the Tigers killed the penalty.

As the clock continued to count down towards the end of the period, the play returned to end-to-end action, with both teams searching for a way to beat the opposition’s netminder. 

A late power play for the Sharks in the period, as the Tigers’ Ryan Leese was called for tripping with 2:08, saw them get plenty of time in the Tigers zone. Despite this time in front of the Tigers net, the visitors’ defence were able to close down the shooting lanes, and incredibly – caused the Sharks to not get a single shot on Tigers net for the full 2 minutes & the period ended minutes later, still goalless.

It was all to play for in the third & final period of regulation, and with nothing between the teams, the result could go either way at this point.

Early chance from the Sharks saw Day tested, but the Tigers went right the other way from the resulting face-off and forced Warburton to make a number of fantastic saves. The resulting play around the net, saw the Sharks on the penalty kill, as Beattie was given a harsh penalty for delay of game with 19:15 left in the period. 

The Sharks start well, keeping the puck out wide, but with 18:52 to go in the period, Vladimír Luka was able to let rip a one-timer shot on the Sharks goal & put the Tigers on the board with the first goal of the night.

Disaster then struck moments later for the home side, when the Tigers were able to double their lead, as Louie Newell was able to capitalise upon a moment of madness from the Sharks defence, and set the Sharks a huge uphill task with 18:14 left to play in the period.

The Tigers continued to apply pressure following the 2 quick goals, causing all kinds of problems for the Sharks. 

The Sharks then had a great opportunity to reduce the Tigers lead to one, as they went on the power play when Joseph Aston was called for slashing with 12:06 remaining in the period.

The Sharks win the resulting face-off, and get a good number of good chances on the Tigers net. Despite this, the Tigers once again kill the Sharks power play, and they returned to full strength.

With time counting down on their opportunity to pull off a comeback, the Sharks throw everything but the kitchen sink at Day in the Tigers net. The visitors continued to apply pressure on the Sharks, despite being two goals up, knowing that every moment the Sharks don’t have the puck they wouldn’t be able to score.

Sharks pull Warburton out of their net, to give them the man advantage, which worked perfectly against the Hull Seahawks on Wednesday. With the added pressure clearly causing problems for the Tigers, they took an untimely penalty, as Mitchell-King gets called for cross-checking, with 1:04 remaining in the period.

However, with just 6.4s to go in the period & game, the Tigers grabbed an empty net goal thanks to Archie Hazeldine, and break their 7 game losing streak moments later to win 3-0 over the Sharks.

The Sharks now look to return to winning ways when they travel to the Hull Seahawks on New Years Day, before returning to the Dumfries Ice Bowl on the 6th & 7th of January, for a double header against the Bristol Pitbulls. You can get your tickets for these games now, either via the club website or in person at the Ice Bowl.

MOTM Solway Sharks – #22 John Dunbar

MOTM Telford Tigers – #30 Bradley Day