DUNDEE TIGERS 0 PAISLEY PIRATES 6
Paisley Pirates are the new SNL champions after overwhelming Dundee Tigers 6-0 in their final league game to win the title. While Aberdeen could equal Pirates’ points total if they were to win all of their remaining games, Pirates have a better head to head against the Lynx, and thus the title comes back to Paisley after a four-year break.
In a very nervy opening period, neither team was able to create much in front of the net, Tigers finding Graeme Meechan and the rest of the defence equal to the task of keeping them out, while Pirates appeared to be fully aware of what was at stake and played at an unusual tempo, with passes going astray and the lines failing to show their usual fluency going forward, as a result of which several chances went a begging. Balfour in the home goal had a relatively straightforward opening period, and thus neither side were able to grab the vital opening counter after 20 minutes.
In the middle period, play continued along similar lines until the 26th minute when Tigers’ McLeod had to leave the ice after taking a puck to the face, and the stoppage while the ice was cleaned appeared to invigorate the visitors, as they were ahead within seconds, Hadyn Bain skating down the left wing and passing to Liam Riddell who wasted no time in firing home to give his team the vital opener. The release of tension in the visitors’ ranks was palpable and with half a minute the lead was doubled as Blair took a pass from Johnston and fairly rattled it into the roof of the net, much to the delight of the large travelling Pirates’ support. The free flowing movement which had been noticeably absent earlier in the game had by this time returned to Pirates’ play and while their momentum was temporarily slowed as Crute took a minor for Elbows at the halfway point, parity in numbers brought a third goal for them as Wilson fed Orr who put the puck beyond Balfour without hesitation. The visitors were rampant now and it was no surprise when, with just over a minute remaining in a fine session for the visitors, Orr returned the compliment by passing to Wilson who picked his spot to make it 4-0 at the second interval.
With the game now virtually out of sight Pirates were on the powerplay in 43 minutes and Wilson and Orr combined to give Jordan space to fire a bullet home and make it five. The visitors were in complete control and even when Blair took a triple minor in the 49th minute, giving the hosts a 6 minute powerplay, the latter were unable to take advantage, and, indeed, Pirates scored shorthanded in the 52nd minute as Connor Spiers rifled a shot home from the blue line for 6-0, his first goal for the club. When Hassan took a minor for tripping, Pirates played a full two minutes with 3 skaters against five, and while there were a few near misses they comfortably held out and, indeed, once back to full strength may have added to their total, but with the clock counting down, and the fans singing from the stands, it was time for the celebrations to begin.
Scorers: Wilson (1+3), Orr (1+2), Riddell, Blair, Jordan & Spiers (all 1+0), Bain, Johnston, Miller & Thorp (all 0+1)
Man of the Match: David Orr