Friday night was hockey night for the Hercules Ice Hockey Apparel Sponsored Solway Sharks as they welcomed the table topping Leeds Knights to the Shark Tank. Solway lined up with a full Allocation of 20 plus 2 the same as last weekend.
The game started at great speed and chances at both ends as Sam Gospel and Curtis Warburton were tested in their respective nets. It was the home side that would open the scoring after a spate of penalties on both sides Nolan Gardiner found himself a bit of space in front of the Knights Net and forced home on the power play at 9:10. It wasn’t long before the Sharks doubled their lead when Caly Roberson fired from a tight angle on the break away at 10:52. Leeds pushed back in the closing 9 minutes with opportunities on the power play but Warburton stood tall to deny the Knights and give his team a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period.
At the start of the 2nd period it was expected the Knights would come out with a push back and a push back they had, they piled pressure on the Sharks and found their rewards at the half way point of the period when Matt Haywood opened his account finishing space in front of Warburton and converting in close at 32.17. Blink and you’d have missed the Leeds equalising goal when only 22 seconds later Jordan Griffin fired a loopy shot from the blue line that beat Warburton and tied the game. Leeds weren’t finished there and the champions grabbed the lead at 34:52 when Jake Witkowski converted from close range to complete the period come back. The Sharks had opportunities on the power play in the dying moments but Sam Gospel done enough to keep the sharks at bay and the Knights went into the 2nd period break 3-2 to the good.
Into the 3rd period and Gospel couldn’t keep the Sharks out for long as Scott Henderson dropped a pass to Nolan Gardiner who skated into space in front and fired low to tie things up at 45:48. Both netminders were tested in the remaining 15 minutes but neither side were able to make the breakthrough and they shared the regulation time points. They would battle it out in overtime for the extra point.
The Sharks found themselves in a familiar position as they would face off 3v3 but as was the story of most of the game it was the netminders that would steal the show, with outstanding saves at both ends to take the game to penalty shots.
Solway Sharks Shot first with Gospel Denying Lewis Young before Warburton saved from Jake Witkowski. Both netminders saved the second shots from John Dunbar for the sharks and Kieran Brown for the knights. Sharks missed again through Gardiner before Mac Howlett gave Knights the advantage,Scott Henderson tied it up for the Sharks and Warburton saved from Matt Barron. Both teams had their 5th attempts saved to take it to sudden death and the change of first takers. This time it was the knights to shoot first as Mac Howlett’s Shot was saved it was down to Mason Alderson. He sent Gospel the wrong way to calmly convert and give Solway Sharks the bonus point and a 4th win in a row as Sharks look to continue their upward form.
Man of the Match
Solway Sharks: Kell Beattie
Leeds Knights: Mac Howlett