WHITLEY Warriors suffered a 4-2 home defeat against Solway Sharks in their only game of last weekend at Hilllheads on Sunday evening.
Whitley were at full strength as both Nathan Ryder and Callum Pattison were available after suspension while Richie Lawson and Jamie Tinsley were back on the roster after recently being side lined through injury.
The presence of Pattison and Tinsley up front allowed Warriors to play the versatile youngster Alex Lawson on the blue line increasing Whitley’s defensive depth.
Whitley matched Solway throughout the opening exchanges as the game looked as if it was going to be a tight competitive affair.
However the first period was brought to a sudden end after just over 17 minutes when Sharks defenceman Aaron Greger was injured after a collision with Dean Holland.
Greger was treated on the ice by the medical staff from both clubs before the ambulance service arrived at the rink.
It is understood the Solway man may have broken his hip.
When the game resumed Warriors quickly moved into the lead as Holland fired home after some nice build up play from line mates Callum Watson and Pattison.
Solway were only behind for around two minutes, though, as Nathan Salem managed to flick the puck past Liam McAllister in the Whitley net from a tight angle.
Sharks found themselves with a two-man advantage midway through the second session after Tinsley and Pritchard both picked up minor penalties for hooking and interference respectively.
Solway were clinical on the powerplay as the Scots netted twice through Adam Reynolds and Steven Moore.
With 35 minutes on the clock, Warriors’ Callum Watson and Sharks’ Ross Murray came to blows and both received roughing penalties.
As Watson and Murray were trading blows another skirmish broke out on the ice and Whitley were further penalised as Holland picked up 12 minutes of penalties for roughing while Pattison was given both roughing and misconduct penalties.
Whitley began the final session trailing 3-1, however, the home fans were soon on their feet as Tinsley found the back of the net just three minutes into the last period.
Warriors committed men forward as they tried to find the game tying goal with player/coach Garry Dowd and Ryder both causing problems for the Solway defence.
However, the Sharks were still a dangerous proposition on the counter and the visitors got their fourth goal on 51 minutes when Calum Henderson got away from Mark Good and fired past Liam McAllister in the Whitley goal.
Warriors continued to press and almost got a late goal back when Watson went close, but Solway were able to cling on and take the two points back up to Scotland.
Sharks netminder Gary Russell was deservedly given man of the match for the away side while Watson was voted man of the match for Warriors.
Thanks went to Cluster bespoke Jewellery of Whitley Bay for sponsoring the clash with the Sharks.
Warriors’ Holland said: “I thought we worked hard, everyone did their job. A couple of players need to stop losing their temper, me being one.
“We can’t have second line players sitting in the penalty box for ten minutes.
“Apart from that I thought we had chances and were able to match them and even outplay them in parts.”
Holland added that Solway were clinical on their powerplay opportunities.
“Reynolds and Salem are two players who are going to score all the time, they have an eye for goal and we just need to find a way to shut them down,” he said.
He also spoke of the extra responsibility that has come his way so far this campaign.
“Dowdy (Gary Dowd) is still working away so I’m still doing the coaching and the lines,” he added.
“Hopefully he’ll be back soon to take a little of the weight off my shoulders.
“It could be affecting my game a little bit as I have to be thinking all the time about what’s going on out on the ice and it can be hard at times.”
This weekend Whitley are only in action away from home as Warriors travel down to Teesside on Sunday night to take on the Billingham Stars in the first Tyne-Tees league derby of the 2012-13 season.