Ice hockey: Aberdeen Lynx need to keep claws out as tests loom

Aberdeen Lynx in action.
Aberdeen Lynx in action.

Discipline and a brilliant goalkeeping performance earned Aberdeen Lynx another win in the Scottish National League (SNL) against North Ayr Wild, according to head coach Owen Reynolds.

And Reynolds thinks his team will need to keep their composure with Kilmarnock Thunder visiting the Granite City this weekend.

The Lynx beat North Ayr 3-1, with goals from Fraser MacEachran and Craig Findlay putting them two to the good a few minutes into the second period.

However, after being pegged back to 2-1 by the Wild’s Mark Fowler, they spent the rest of the period fighting to stay in front, with Craig Chalmers in goal pulling off a string of saves.

Ross McIntosh slotted the Lynx’s third 15 seconds into the final period, before they closed the game out sensibly for the win.

Reynolds was impressed by his team’s professional approach to record their third win on the spin.

He said: “After back-to-back wins (against Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup and Solway Stingrays in the league) it was crucial we kept our momentum going.

“But it was always going to be tough with North Ayr pushing some of the top teams close so far this season.

“There was a fair amount of bad blood between the two teams when we met earlier in the season, so discipline was always going to be a key factor.

“Another key factor was getting off the mark quickly as slow starts have proved costly for us.

“Ross McIntosh almost gave us the lead in the first minute, but the main thing was that we were setting the tempo, which lead to Fraser MacEachran opening the scoring in the first period.

“Ultimately we stuck to our game plan and put in a really solid team performance capped by a man of the match display by Craig Chalmers in goal.

“Other than a lapse in the second period which led to their goal, I was impressed with our discipline, composure and work ethic.”

The Lynx’s league run-in will be challenging.

After bottom Kilmarnock’s trip to the Linx Ice Arena, there’s another winnable match against the already beaten Dundee Tigers.

However, the last four encounters are against Paisley Pirates, Murrayfield Racers, Kirkcaldy Kestrels and Dundee Comets – who occupy the four league spots above the Lynx in the hunt for the play-offs.

Reynolds thinks the grit and ability to start fast shown against North Ayr will need to be maintained.

He said: “It was exactly the performance we needed, and the sort of performance we’ll need to put in more regularly as the fixtures get harder.”

Meanwhile, Lynx juniors coach Barry Carnegie was in Tallinn, Estonia, as the Great Britain Under-20s won bronze at the World Championships (Division 2A).

They secured third place with a 7-2 victory over Spain. Estonia and Lithuania took gold and silver.