PIRATES IN PLAYOFF FINALS
PAISLEY PIRATES 8 NORTH AYRSHIRE WILD 1
Pirates duly proceeded to the SNL playoff weekend in Kirkcaldy in two weeks’ time-but only after they had survived an early scare which shocked the home support.
The home team went into the match already holding a 9-1 advantage from the first leg 24 hours earlier, but were caught on the hop with barely two minutes on the clock as a shot from McPhail took a deflection and deceived Meechan to give the visitors a surprise league. Pirates came back strongly, however, and were level less than four minutes later as Campbell got on the end of a Thorp pass to tie the scores at 1-1. Before the halfway point in the period they had nudged ahead, courtesy of a Wilson marker, and within a couple of minutes the lead was doubled as Turley fired in a bullet from the blue line, followed quickly by a superb goal from Martyn Guy who skated from his own zone and beat a number of defenders before back handing the puck beyond Russell to take the score to 4-1. The scoring for the period wasn’t finished, however, as with Pirates defending a penalty call on Turley, Spiers went on a run which saw him skate through into an attacking position, and his pass to Wilson left the sniper with the simplest of tasks to net and give his side an interval 5-1 lead.
With the tie already well decided, the middle session saw Wild come into the game a little more, with Pirates failing to break down stubborn defence, and the visitors showing some promise coming forward, Russell in particular making some fine stops to keep the hosts at bay. However, with eleven minutes gone he was powerless to prevent Johnston netting a simple goal after assistance from Thorp, and within a minute goal maker turned scorer as with Pirates once again defending a numerical disadvantage, the giant forward skated half the length of the ice to flick past the Wild netminder to make it seven. Wilson duly completed his hat trick with under three minutes remaining in the period to take the score to 8-1.
In a goalless final session there remained period of entertaining hockey, with Russell in particular earning his Man of the Match title for the visitors with a string of excellent saves, and while the teams swapped a number of penalties, neither was able to trouble the scorer with a change in the score, leaving Pirates comfortably taking their places in the final four at Kirkcaldy in less than a fortnight.
Scorers: Wilson (3+1), Thorp (1+3), Campbell, Turley, Guy & Johnston (all 1+0), Orr & Miller (both 0+2), Spiers, Crute, Blair & Hassan (all 0+1)
Penalties: Turley & Orr (both 4), Guy, Spiers & Riddell (all 2)