The Hercules Ice Hockey Apparel sponsored Solway Sharks welcomed the Bristol Pitbulls to the shark tank in the first of a home double header on Saturday night, both teams came in to this one with mixed fortunes over the festive period, Solway recording three wins from five and Bristol with two from the same amount of games and the head to head in the two games between the sides being one win each.
It was a bright start from both teams with chances created at either end, but it was the home side that would open the scoring at 2.29 when Craig Peacock fired a pass to Kel Beattie, and Beattie’s shot from the blue line took a nick off Caly Robertson’s stick in front and found a way past Ben Norton in the Pitbulls net. Former Solway Shark forward Bari McKenzie pulled one back for Bristol as he was first to react to a shot that deflected high off Sharks netminder Curtis Warburton at 6.58. Sharks fired themselves back infront when Kell Beattie applied the pressure fresh out of the box on his 2 minute elbowing penalty and forced a turn over in the attack and Craig Peacock made no mistake as he fired home at close range to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead at the end of first.
Sharks added a third goal early in the second when John Dunbar found space in front of the net, pulled a move round Norton and converted into the empty goal, with Caly Robertson and Craig Peacock getting the helpers at 23.34. The visitors pulled one back on the power play when Brennan Feasey fired from a closing angle into the top corner past Warburton in the sharks net at 25.36. For the next 9 minutes there was opportunity’s at both ends but the home side added a 4th with defensive man Olivier Arseneau getting onto the end of a deflected Ross Murray pass and fired a laser-beam of a shot past Norton into the top corner to give the sharks a 4-2 lead at the end of the second period.
Into the 3rd and the visiting Pitbulls knew they needed a big start and they got it when Juha Lindgren fired home from a Daniel Bradley pass through the legs of Warburton and pulled his team back to within one at 42.33. Sharks restored their two goal advantage at 45.28 when John Dunbar gloved down an attempted clearance and found a pass to Caly Robertson out in front of the goal, who with I delicate touch in-front found enough to force it past Norton. Sam Smith gave the Pitbulls a glimmer of hope at 54.17 when he converted on his 100th game for his team to pull them back to with in one. At 59.59 and with the final hit of the puck Nolan Gardener fired a puck from neutral ice into an empty Pitbulls net to add the cherry on top and seal a 6-4 victory for the Hercules Ice Hockey Apparel sponsored Solway Sharks.
Man of the Match
Solway Sharks #92 Caly Robertson
Bristol Pitbulls #88 Juha Lindgren