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Season starts for Solway junior sides; Ice hockey.

Solway Sharks Juniors, with the support of the Holywood Trust, got their ice hockey season underway last weekend, with the U14, U16 and U20 teams back in action at Dumfries Ice Bowl after the summer recess.

The Jardine Motors sponsored U20s were first up, facing rivals Murrayfield at Dumfries Ice Bowl on Saturday.

In a feisty encounter, Murrayfield drew first blood on the powerplay after a mere two minutes before Ruairi Lockerbie evened the score seconds later, assisted by Aidan Nicol and Lewis Chalmers.

Murrayfield managed another two in rapid succession, seeing them go into the period break 3-1 ahead of Solway.

The second period saw the Sharks on the front foot, Lewis Houston taking advantage of a powerplay and pulling one back, assists coming from big brother Luke Houston and Lockerbie. Chalmers was next to net, with a shorthanded goal to equalise from Lewis Houston.

Solway were starting to dominate, taking the play to Murrayfield, only to find themselves on the wrong end of another goal as the Edinburgh outfit took advantage of a Solway penalty to go 4-3 ahead going into the second break.

The final period continued in the same vein, Murrayfield quickest off the mark this time, going further ahead after just 46 seconds, 5-3. Solway came back within one, Lewis Houston on the powerplay from Chalmers. Kieran Hair evened the score at 5-5 with another powerplay goal, assists from Lewis Houston and Lockerbie, before finding the net again a minute later to put Solway 6-5 ahead, assisted by Liam Stenton.

Murrayfield pulled the score back to 6-6 with a powerplay goal of their own. The final 10 minutes were a flurry of fast and furious plays, Solway taking the lead once more at 7-6 when Lewis Houston scored another assisted by Stenton, before sealing the deal with a fine unassisted effort - his fourth and the team's eighth.

The score stood till the end, a good opening victory against strong opposition for the under 20s, Lewis Houston named man of the match for Solway.

Coach Jamie Kerr, said: "First games are always tough and a potential banana skin. We took a bit longer than the coaching team were comfortable with in adapting to our new line mates and getting used to some of the new rules, and that saw us play large phases of the game short handed, with an odd power play working to our advantage.

"Even at 4-3 down after two periods, we were a bit frustrated at being behind despite having out shot Edinburgh 29-15 at that point; we knew it was just a case of finding the net with a good couple of shots.

"The team showed amazing character to come back in the final 20 minutes by firing in five goals and picking up a deserved opening two points. We don't have much time to tweak things but hopefully a battling and further improved performance will be evident when we visit Kilmarnock next week."

Under 14s The newly re-formed U14s team, sponsored by Tarff Coffee Shop, faced strong opposition when they welcomed Dundee to the Ice Bowl for their season opener on Sunday morning.

Back in the league after a two-season absence, the youngsters started off hesitantly and Dundee were quick to capitalise, going four goals ahead in the first nine minutes.

Finding their feet, the team rallied and Kyle Carruth drew one back assisted by Bailey Thomson and Niall Duignan, to see the first period end with Dundee 4-1 ahead.

Carruth and Thomson combined again just after the period break, Thomson finding the net this time, before Dundee asserted their dominance again with another two in rapid succession.

Unbowed, the young Sharks kept battling and were rewarded when Carruth struck again, assists from Scott Kirkpatrick and Thomson. Another from Dundee made it 7-3 Dundee going into the second break.

Despite the best efforts of the Solway youngsters they could not contain Dundee in the third period and succumbed to another four goals before the final whistle, Dundee emerging 11-3 winners.

Bailey Thomson was man of the match for Solway.

Coach Gary Carruth, said: "The scoreline didn't reflect the performance of the team. This is a new and very young group of players and it will take a few more games for them to gel.

"Despite the score there were lots of positives to take from the game as we head off to face Belfast this weekend."

Under 16s The Oakbank U16s faced Dundee next, and up against a bigger, faster and well-organised team they found themselves overwhelmed by a strong and relentless attack force, and despite their best exertions and dogged determination they were soundly defeated. Solway's only goal of the game came in the middle stanza, a powerplay goal courtesy of Scott Rae, assisted by Matthew Watters and Lennon McNee.

Corbyn Grace was Solway's man of the match.

Coach Carruth, said, "Against last year's and potentially this year's champions this was always going to be a tough first game.

Again we have a very new and young team but we skated hard until the final buzzer and showed lots of character and that's what we are looking for."

Solway U12s and U14s head off to Belfast on Saturday, while the U20s travel to face Kilmarnock.

Anyone interested in playing ice hockey should contact Dumfries Ice Bowl on 01387 251300 for details of Learn to Play sessions.
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Publication:Dumfries and Galloway Standard (Dumfriesshire, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 14, 2018
Words:897
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