WHITLEY Warriors lost their final game of the 2012-13 campaign last weekend when they beaten 5-0 by NIHL North division one champions Solway Sharks on Saturday night in a snowy Dumfries.
The visitors were without a number of senior players as defencemen Simon Hehir, Garry Dowd and Josh Maddock were all out due to injury while forwards Callum Watson, Callum Pattison and Mark Good were unavailable.
Solway started the game brightly and opened the scoring with less than two minutes played when Ross Murray fired past Warriors young netminder Joe Harley.
The home side continued to create plenty of opportunities and Murray once again got the better of Harley on 12 minutes after some precise build up play from John Connolly to double the advantage.
Warriors showed their own offensive quality at the beginning of the second period as skipper DJ Good fired just over the bar while youngster Ben Richards hit the post.
However it was the home side who managed to net the game’s next goal when the diminutive Bob Chalmers fired in from close range.
Solway extended their advantage to 4-0 towards the end of the session when Stuart Tonnar found the back of the net after some nice work from both Mark Gallagher and Craig Mitchell.
Sharks made it 5-0 on 42 minutes when Stevie Adams netted unassisted.
Solway decided to give their back up netminder Kieran Hobbins some game time late on as the youngster replaced Gary Russell for the final 12 and a half minutes of action.
Warriors had a late five on three powerplay opportunity when Solway picked up two minor penalties after 58 minutes, allowing Whitley a chance to grab a late consolation.
Solway struggled to contain Warriors’ offensive efforts and just as it appeared Whitley were going to get on the scoresheet a Sharks defenceman dislodged the net to prevent a goal.
This resulted in Whitley being awarded a penalty shot which was taken by Harry Harley, however, the youngster was thwarted by Hobbins in the Solway net.
Sharks’ Ross Murray was named man of the match for Solway while DJ Good was selected as Warriors’ top player on the night.
Warriors coach Dave Holland said: “Solway are a very strong team and we came here with a weakened side.
“We were missing a lot of guys who could have made a difference today.
“We came up here and we put in a good performance. We closed them down well and limited their chances.
“Just a few weeks ago we were battling to not be involved in the relegation play-offs, so to finish mid-table is a great achievement for the club and a very respectable position to be in.”
Supporters are reminded that the end of season presentation night, which includes a disco and a buffet, takes place on Friday, April 5, in the Seahorse pub. Tickets are £5.
Warriors’ 2013-14 season will get under way in early September.