The first match of the weekend saw the Blackburn Hawks take the trip up the M6 to Dumfries to take on the Solway Sharks. Martin Grubb’s Sharks are riding high in the league in second place while the Hawks are looking to climb the table to get to the highest spot possible with a view to the end of season play offs.
Hawks started the first period showing the Solway Sharks they meant business in Saturday’s NIHL North Moralee League game, scoring an early goal within the first five minutes with an even handed goal from James Riddoch. The Sharks bit back almost immediately though with a goal of their own from Peter Gapa. It remained all square for a good stint with both teams looking dangerous. Break throughs came in the last five minutes of the period with a trio of goals: the first for the home team with Gapa’s second, to get their nose in front before James Neil scored a 4 minute brace to see the Hawks leap frog to lead just before the buzzer sounded
End of first period: SOLWAY SHARKS 2-3 BLACKBURN HAWKS
The Blackburn Hawks stayed true to first period form as they extended their lead to two goals early in the second 20 minutes of play with a shot from Sean Jones. They were quickly punished by a power play goal for the Sharks who clawed one back through Stuart Kerr. The Hawks had to ensure they didn’t make the same mistake again and scored brace of successful shots to double Solway’s score thanks to Czech import Petr Valusiak and Captain James Royds.
End of second period: SOLWAY SHARKS 3-6 BLACKBURN HAWKS
Just as the Hawks seemed to be in control of the game, having 5 less outskaters than the Solway Sharks took its toll in the final period. All credit to the Sharks who made a strong fight back with a trio of goals from Kyle Horne, Scott Henderson, and Gapa, squaring up the score line with just over 4 minutes left on the clock. The Hawks clung on but with 27 seconds left they were hit where it hurt as the Sharks scored their seventh goal that was elusive for the Hawks to take the 2 points and sent the Hawks back down the M6 empty handed.
End of game: SOLWAY SHARKS 7-6 BLACKBURN HAWKS
Sunday: BLACKBURN HAWKS V NOTTINGHAM LIONS
On Sunday the Nottingham Lions were in town for Hawks second fixture of the weekend. The Lions are yet to see their first 2 points but one thing is for sure, they consistently give 100% effort and a win against them is never to be taken for granted.
Hawks looked to bounce back from Saturday’s tough-to-take loss and an early power play goal from James Royds set them up to do just that. Backed up by a second by James Riddoch, Hawks continued on good form before the Lions denied the home side a clean sheet courtesy of Cameron Pywell and halved their lead late in the period
End of first period: BLACKBURN HAWKS 2-1 NOTTINGHAM LIONS
Hawks went from strength to strength in the second 20 minutes of play with a steady stream of goals. Petr Valusiak, Royds and Ethan Mayoh beat the last line of Nottingham Lions’ defence and went unanswered to give Hawks a 4 goal lead going into the final period hoping to emulate their solid controlling second period performance to well earn the two points
End of second period: BLACKBURN HAWKS 5-1 NOTTINGHAM LIONS
The great team performance continued for the Hawks in the third period as Lee Pollitt had top support to fire home a hat-trick of goals. The Nottingham Lions never gave up and kept Hawks on their toes but the latter’s defence remained unbeaten since the away side’s solo first goal to take the 2 points edging closer to the Billingham Stars in the table.
End of game: BLACKBURN HAWKS 8-1 NOTTINGHAM LIONS