FORMER Whitley Warrior Nathen Salem put five past his old side when league leaders Solway Sharks ran out 6-2 winners at Hillheads on Sunday evening.
Whitley were able to include Callum Watson and Ali Brummit in their squad after both players had been unavailable for selection for the previous weekend’s away game at Sheffield.
However, Warriors still had a number of players out including defenceman Phil Pritchard who is currently recovering from a facial injury and goaltender Richie Lawson with shingles.
Whitley started the game slowly and Sharks took the lead after only two minutes when John Connolly got the better of Liam McAlllister in the Warriors goal.
The home side created a number of their own chances in the opening period but could do nothing to prevent Solway making it 2-0 when Salem fired home a powerplay marker after just under 15 minutes of action for his first of the night.
Warriors started the second session positively and Nathan Ryder beat Sharks keeper Gary Russell three minutes in to make it 2-1.
Unfortunately forward Mark Good picked up a minor penalty for hooking just after the Warriors goal and Solway netted another powerplay strike through the clinical Salem.
The home side continued to battle away but Shark’s Salem was in superb form and the former Warrior netted his third on the half hour mark, which saw Solway hold a 4-1 lead going into the last period.
Sharks killed the game off in the third period as Salem added two further goals which saw the Scottish side lead 6-1.
Warriors were still playing some nice hockey, though, and captain DJ Good got a goal back after some nice build play from winger Watson and blue liner Brummit.
Solway uncharacteristically ran into some penalty trouble late in the game as they picked up three minor penalties in the last six minutes of the contest, however, Warriors were unable to find the back of the net despite holding the man advantage.
After the contest, Warriors coach Dave Holland, said: “I thought the third period was good, silly mistakes in the first and second periods cost us the goals, though.
“We are learning and getting better but I want it now and simple mistakes cost us.
“I know the results don’t prove it but I think we are improving. Next weekend’s game with Trafford is very important. We aren’t sure if we’ll have Ali Brummitt next week as yet.”
Warriors take to the ice twice this weekend as they travel across the Pennines to take on the Blackburn Hawks on Saturday before facing the Trafford Metros at home on Sunday (5pm face-off).
Whitley are currently just a point above the relegation play-off spot so the weekend’s games will be of great importance as the club look to move back up the standings between now and the end of the campaign.