Solway Sharks secured a 3-1 lead in Sunday’s first leg of their KD Flavell Welding Specialists East/West Trophy Final against Billingham Stars. After a scoreless opening period, Adam Robinson put Stars in front before NathanSalem tied things up before the end of the second. Aidan Fulton and Struan Tonnar added further goals in the final period to put Sharks in strong position ahead of the second leg.
The previous day saw Sharks in NIHL1 North action at home to Blackburn Hawks. Myles Dacres gave Hawks an early lead, before goals from Adam Reynolds and Bob Chalmers put the league leaders 2-1 ahead by the first break. Neither team could find a way through in the middle period, but when Ross Murray added a third early in the final session Sharks looked in total control. Hawks refused to lie down and two Dave Meikle goals – the equaliser coming with less than five seconds on the clock – snatched an unlikely point for the visitors.
Sutton Sting kept their play-off push on track with victory at Sheffield Spartans. Dave Pyatt put Spartans in front after 14 minutes, but Joe Ashby levelled early in the second. Chris Sykes put Sting ahead by the midway point, before Ollie Barron tied things up after 34 minutes. Two quick goals by Simon Offord put Sting 4-2 ahead by the second buzzer, but Spartans roared back in the third to level again through Andrew Cook and Will Barron. With two minutes left Spartans were handed a powerplay, but Sting stunned their hosts as Richie Oliver grabbed the winner to seal a 5-4 win.
Sunday’s big clash in NIHL2 North saw title rivals Deeside Dragons and Nottingham Lions do battle. Goals from Jose Leon and Gareth O’Flaherty saw Lions 2-0 up after 25 minutes, but Tom King brought Dragons back into things by the half-hour mark. King made it 2-2 early in the third, but Jake Baveystock and Luke Branin sealed the points for Lions to send them three points clear at the top of the table.
Sheffield Senators move up to second place with a 5-2 home win over Fylde Flyers – Tom Humphries, Nathan Britton, Anton Egorov, Simon Manning and Tom Proctor got their goals. Solihull Barons stay in the promotion picture after a 3-2 win at Hull Stingrays.
Next Saturday sees Solway and Billingham meet in the second leg of the KD Flavell Welding Specialists East/West Trophy Final at Dumfries Ice Bowl, while the following evening Sutton host Solway in NIHL1 North. Contact: Michael.Black@prohockeynews.com