Sharks Great Start After Enforced Break
The Building Craftsmen Dumfries Solway Sharks got their NIHL league campaign underway after an 18-month Covid-enforced layoff on Saturday night, welcoming new-to-the-league Sheffield Scimitars to Dumfries Ice Bowl with a sizeable crown in attendance. With several key players missing from the squad coaches Martin Grubb and Jamie Thomson put together over the summer, a short-benched Sharks side took to the ice with a number of new faces in their line-up, including call-ups from the U19s team.
With no previous experience of playing each other both teams made an edgy start, Sharks penalty kill unit called into successful action twice in the early stages, but the home team started to find their feet as play progressed, having the greater share of attempts on goal. It took until 3 minutes before the end of the period before the spectators were treated to a Sharks goal, a purposeful pass from Stuart Kerr sending the puck to Scott Henderson, who, having forced his way into space, smacked it past James Hadfield in the Scimitars net for the first goal of the new campaign at 17:21. The exhilaration spread through and lifted the whole Sharks team, who went into the first break a goal ahead and newly confident.
The second period saw play more even with Scimitars working hard to contain the Sharks. The game got faster and more physical as Sharks got into their stride in their first game as a team, with both sides successful on the penalty kill. Jordan McLaughlin got a good workout in the Sharks net as Scimitars stepped up to match the Sharks on shots, turning away all attempts on goal to keep the slim lead until the buzzer signalled the end of the second period.
Sharks again made a convincing start to the final period, their play becoming more fluid and organised. The penalty kill line was again called into action, and this time managed to engineer a turn-over which saw them take off up the ice short-handed, Christian Johnson feeding the puck to Struan Tonnar coming in fast, who sent the puck to the back of the net to double the gap at 46:12. Sharks kept up the determined play for the rest of the period, and despite digging deep Scimitars could find no response. There was a frenetic final minute when Sheffield pulled their netminder in favour of an extra skater to pile extra pressure on the Sharks, but they could find no way past Sharks defence and McLaughlin in net.
The final score of Sharks 2 Scimitars 0 got the Sharks’ season off to a great start, and the team performance was appreciated by the Ice Bowl crowd. Jordan McLaughlin was man of the match with a clean sheet for Sharks, and his opposite number Hadfield earned the honour for Scimitars.
Below Photos: Home and Away MoM went to both netminders, Solway Sharks Jordan McLaughlin & Tivac Alloys Sheffield Scimitars James Hadfield #22. Photo credit to Helen Hobbins Photography.