Blackburn Hawks Weekend Round-up
The Full 9 Yards sponsored Blackburn Hawks were again in Moralee Division hockey last weekend with games against Sheffield Steeldogs and Billingham Stars.
BLACKBURN HAWKS 5 SHEFFIELD STEELDOGS 6
Hawks were missing Barnes, Ravey, Streetly,Duncombe and Neil. New signing Robin Kovar made his debut and Ronnie Grimes Jr again stepped up to Hawks1.
The period started with both teams going hard at it without really testing either netminder. First save of the night went to Harrison Walker with a low save and thankfully the rebound went wide with the net gaping. Robin Kovar then showed his new fans his great puck control before being crowded out by the Sheffield defence. The first power play of the evening went to Hawks but a controlled defence allowed the away side to take control. The second went to the Dogs and Hawks first real chance. Lee Pollitt made an interception and go a shot off that was easy for Stones in the Steeldogs net. Great play by the Hawks though. The crowd were up on their feet on 16.28 as the home side took the lead. Ross Kennedy intercepted the puck on the point and got a shot off. Stones could not freeze it and James Riddoch pounced and shot off the netminders pads but this time a rushing James Royds was there to find the back of the net. As the period ended, Sheffield created a nice 1-2 play that ended with the puck pinging off Walker’s post. End of an entertaining period and 1-0 to Hawks.
Sheffield came out strong but Kennedy, having a good game, went coast to coast and laid the puck into the gap but Hawks were not following up and a good chance went begging. Sheffield equalised on 24.37 and a shot from Adrian Palak bobbled off Harrison’s pads and into the net. This fired up the Dogs and the took the lead just over a minute later on 25.38. Spiers took the puck from a Bell pass and was too fast for the retreating Hawks defence and he lifted the puck over Walker for 1-2.
After a pile up in front of Harrison Walker, Sheffield’s Calvert decided to have a go at Craig Lutkevitch and after a short bout, both skated towards the box. Before they got there, Ollie Lomax jumped off the bench to take on Calvert with Lomax getting off a couple of good shots before both men went to the ice. The result of all that was: Lutkevitch 2 mins for holding (the initial penalty) and 2+2 for fighting. Calvert received 2 mins for the initial instigation and 2+2 x 2 for both fights. Ollie got himself a 10 misconduct, 2+2 for fighting, and a game penalty for leaving the bench( 2nd misconduct). All were coincidental penalties apart from Craig’s holding and Calvert’s instigation so it was 4 on four hockey . This seemed to fire up the Hawks and they equalised on 29.54 with a curios goal. Ross Kennedy took a slapshot from the point. It went wide and rebounded off the boards to Lee Pollitt, who shot the puck home. End to end play ensued again, the highlight being a coast to coast skate from Robin Kovar which saw his shot come off a post. Second period ended with the scores tied at 2.
If you were pleased at the first 2 periods of entertainment, then the third would have had you ecstatic.
Sheffield took the lead don 41.05 with Palak whipping in a shot from the spot which beat Harrison for pace as the puck went off his shoulder and into the net. Hawks answer was almost immediate and a speculative shot from Lee Pollitt from the circle, went in off a post for 3-3. Before the announcer had time to tell the crowd of the scoring details, Dogs once again went in front. Palak again showed great pace as he broke away and beat Walker for the away side’s 4th goal. Timed at 42.30. No messing from a determined Hawks side and they drew level once again on 43.46. James Riddoch skated wide and fired the puck back towards the business end and it found the net from a narrow angle. 4 goals in 3 and a half minutes. Tremendous end to end hockey now with both teams going for the win. Jack Murray took a hit and while down on the ice, slashed out causing a delayed penalty call. Sheffield took full advantage and after a shot from Graham, Calvert was alone in front of the crease to chip the puck in. 4-5 after 48.48. It was still anybody’s game as the end to end hockey continued at a furious pace. Sheffield got the winning goal on 54.06 when Nathan Salem shot down the centre and although Harrison got a glove to it, the pace beat him and for the first time in the game, Sheffield had a 2 goal lead. Hawks were in no mood to give the game up and came back at the Steeldogs. With Sheffield on a 2 minute penalty for roughing, James Royds found Ross Kennedy at centre ice and a superb one timer found the back of the net. 5-6 with 67 seconds of the game left. Hawks hit the final shot of the game when Robin Kover hit the post but the net was already off and Sheffield saw the game out.
An outstanding game of hockey and a brilliant effort by Hawk against the league leaders. MVP for Hawks went to Ross Kennedy but it could have gone to any one of them in a fantastic performance by the home side.
BILLINGHAM STARS 2 BLACKBURN HAWKS 6
Hawks took their impressive form from Saturday night into this game and came home with 2 excellent points.
Hawks missing Barnes, Neil, Duncombe, Ravey and Streetly
Hawks icing with guests Ronnie Grimes Jnr from Hawks2 and ex players now at Bradford, Matt Viney and Reece Cairney Witter.
Hawks started well but went a goal behind after a defensive lapse left Chris Sykes free and he wrong-footed Trapens for the first of the evening. Timed at 4.12. Hawks had the goal in the net soon after but it was washed out for a loose net. Fairly even game for most of the first 10 minutes. Things were getting a bit heated and James Moss and Lee Pollitt went for 2+2 each for handbags with an extra 2 for the Stars man for slashing. Hawks took advantage and equalise after 13.26. Petr Valusiak sent the puck into the crease and Aaron Davies poked the puck home. 1-1.
A minute later, the good following of Hawks fans were on their feet as their favourites made it 2-1 on 14.54. Valusiak again down the wing made a cross ice pass that Aaron Davies met with a one timer past Flavell. Hawks then lost the in form Ross Kennedy to a spearing call and he will miss next weekends first game. That was it for the first period with the Hawks in front 2-1.
Some strange calls/non calls by the referee angered the Hawks following but the team were sticking to their guns and playing well. Niks Trapans in net was having a stellar performance as Stars came at their visitors. Hawks were going through a tough time defensively but Niks was having his A game. Hawks increased their lead on 28.05 a bit against the run of play. Petr Valusiak worked the puck left to right and with Flavell expecting the shot, slipped the puck to Matt Viney on the edge of the face off circle and he found the top corner. Robin then had a chance to get his debut goal but Flavell just shut his five-hole in time. 4-1 to Hawks on 37.51. Robin Kovar won a face off and passed straight to young Jack Murray, who fired it passed the Stars netminder for his first Hawks goal. Also Robin’s first point for the Hawks. That finished the scoring for the second period with the Hawks looking in control and 4-1 up.
Hawks lost Aaron Davies for the third period with a broken skate and Stars went hunting to try and save the game and pulled a goal back on 45.30. Traps made a good save from Craig Thurston but Chris Sykes was on hand to collect the rebound and score his, and Stars’ second goal of the night. Petr Valusiak scored a highlight solo goal on 49.12 to seal the points for Hawks as he powered onto a loose cross ice pass from Stars and chipped the puck over Flavell. The last ten minutes of the game was once again end to end with Traps having a superb match, The icing on the cake for the visitors came on 59.35 as James Riddoch nicked the puck on Hawks blue line and found Lee Pollitt crossing centre ice, who in turn layed it off to Petr Valusiak crossing the blue line and a shot straight through the five-hole made it 6-2 Hawks. Not surprisingly Niks Trapans won the beers for an outstanding performance between the pipes.
What a fantastic weekend for the Hawks. Morale must be sky high after both performances.
James Neil commented after the game: “So proud of all the guys this weekend. To take the Steeldogs to a one goal game last night was awesome and tonight was a good all round performance. Great to see young Jack get his first goal. It has been coming for a while. Robin is settling in and making a difference. We are starting to show just what we are capable of and it bodes well for the run in to the play-offs.”
Photos by Tom Foy