The first game of the New Year in local ball hockey was full of goal-scoring excitement.
The Sharks and the Lone Star Barracudas provided a much faster paced game than expected coming out of the Cayman Islands Ball Hockey League’s holiday lay off. The Sharks seemed to have bit more spring in the their step with effective fore-checking which had the turn-over prone Barracuda defence on their heels. The end result was a 5-1 drubbing for the Sharks.
Derek Bruce once again turned in a strong game for the Sharks by notching two goals. Bruce now has eight goals on the season along with 11 points. His goal-scoring efforts were matched by Renald Durand (who has eight points this year) with Shane Wanotch getting a single tally. The offence, which featured strong play from Tim Courtis, was once again led by Scott Gossen with his fast aggressive play and two pretty assists. Gossen now finds himself fourth in the chase for the scoring title with 14 points off seven goals and seven assists. The lone Barracudas goal was scored by Blake Schneider, his first tally of the season.
The other opening match for 2011 saw the defending champions CIBC Islanders defeated by the Deloitte Devil Rays 6-3. The loss officially eliminates CIBC from playoff contention at 2-8 with three weeks left in the regular season. With the victory Deloitte are currently in first place, a game ahead of the Sharks and the BDO-CML Pirates.
Steadying the Devil Rays have been top scorers Brent Forysth (second in the league with 18 points thanks to nine goals and nine assists), Leo Kassam (fifth with 14 points off 10 assists and four goals) and Michael Hall (seventh with 14 points with 11 assists off three goals). The next pair of matches are this Thursday at the Logic arena of Kings Sports Centre.