Full 9 Yards sponsored Blackburn Hawks played 2 Moralee Division Games over the weekend and unfortunately came out of them pointless.
On Saturday, they made the trip across the hills to take on the undefeated Sheffield Steeldogs.
Hawks were missing Steve Duncombe, Petr Valusiak, Adam Barnes, Kieran Brown and Jack Murray. Bobby Streetly and Rick Ravey made a surprising return to the team after injury and Ryan Kemp from the Bradford Bulldogs iced.
Steeldogs came out fastest in the first period and took the lead on 1.57 with a top corner shot from Cameron James Brownley. Hawks were not without their chances and holding their own when a defensive error allowed Andrew Hirst to make it 2-0 after 9.20. With 14 minutes gone Niks Trapans denied Sheffield twice in succession but was beaten on 14.10 with a goal from Thomas Relf and a minute and a half later it was 4-0, Andrew Hirst bagging his second of the night. The Steeldogs were not having everything all their own way and a trademark Luke Boothroyd slapshot from the blue line reduced the arrears on 18.36 and the teams went to the first break at 4-1 Steeldogs.
The second period was scoreless but not without some fine action from both teams. Ollie Lomax had a chance with just over 25 minutes played but he was unlucky not to control the puck in front of goal. Niks Trapans had to be at his best to deny a Steeldogs 2 on 1 with a great solid save. Still 4-1 to the Steeldogs after 40 minutes play but a much better period for the Hawks.
With 43.57 on the clock, the ‘Dogs put the game to bed with Nathan Salem in the right spot to tip the biscuit into the net for 5-1. Into the last 10 mins and the Steeldogs breached the tiring Hawks defence twice more with goals by Ashley Calvert and a second of the night for Cameron James Brownley. The scoring was over but not the action. With about 90 seconds left Danny Nomanovas took an elbow in the face from Milan Kolena and James Royds stepped up to the plate to offer some advice. A good scrap ensued and both took 2+2 fighting minor penalties with Kolena getting the extra 2 minutes for the initial elbow. Final score 7-1 to the Steeldogs but a spirited game by an understrength Hawks against the in- form Sheffield outfit. Luke Boothroyd picked up Blackburn’s man of the match award.
Sunday night saw the Solihull Barons come to town with Hawks looking to pick up the points after a disappointing result in Sheffield the night before. Steve Duncombe, Kieran Brown and Adam Barnes were still missing. Jack Murray returned and Ryan Kemp continued his secondment from Bradford Bulldogs.
Hawks almost scored with their first chance of the game but the net came off(not for the last time in the game) and the puck went wide. Completely against the run of play, Barons took the lead on 3.39 with a goal from Luke Brittle. End to end play kept the huge crowd, boosted by over 500 familes from local Community groups and schools, on their feet. Chances from Ryan Kemp, Danny Nomanovas and Aaron Davies tested Hewitt in the Barons’ net but all just failed to count. With thextra man in their favour Hawks equalised with a power play goal on 9.51. Josh Bruce was sitting out a delay of game penalty when great play between James Royds and Ross Kennedy resulted in James Neal slapping the puck into the net from the blue line. Hawks continued to dominate and lifted the roof off the building with a second on 12.10. Danny Nomanovas pounced on a poor pass just inside Baron’s defensive zone and wrong footed the netminder before slotting the puck home. The nest had not heard such a noise since the glory years of 2014 and 15 as the blocks rose to a man/woman/child to acclaim an outstanding goal. Barons were not out of the game and looked dangerous every time they attacked and were rewarded on 13.17 with Luke Brittle pouncing on a loose puck to chip Harrison in the Hawks’ goal for 2-2. On 17 minutes Petr Valusiak took a high stick to the mouth from Daniel Harrison which resulted in the latter receiving a game penalty for high sticks and Hawks went on a 5 minute power play. This became a 5 on 3 when Hewitt was finally punished for pushing the net off and the Barons were under pressure being 2 men down. The Barons’ defence stood firm and an exciting period ended 2-2.
Hawks started the second period still on the power play and they put Hewitt under severe pressure but the visiting netminder kept everything out. Hawks fans showed their displeasure at Barons captain Josh Bruce on 22.09 when he stayed on the ice for what they thought was far too long after taking a high stick from Ross Kennedy. Barons took the lead on the resulting powerplay on 22-04 when Luke Brittle scored his second. Harrison Walker made a good save from Niklas Ottasson but the puck dribbled loose and Luke Brittle scored his second of the night. It was 4-2 at 14.04 when Adam Brittle was allowed too much freedom behind the net and Matthew Maurice was all alone in front of goal to score. Solihull were having their best period of the game and were putting Hawks under severe pressure at the back. The crowd were loving the excellent end to end play and were doing their best to drive the Hawks back into the game. It worked, and on 36.51 the home side deservedly pulled a goal back. James Royds found Danny Nomanovas and when his shot rebounded, James Neil was at the back post to fire home. End of the 2nd period and a pulsating game was finely poised at 3-4.
Hawks started the 3rd well and the crowd responded , noisily encouraging their team to get the equaliser but against the run of play, Barons scored a crucial 5th goal. 42.29 on the clock as Luke Brittle and James Moeller broke free and the latter slotted the puck home to restore the visitor’s 2 goal lead. Hawks were looking tired as Barons just played simple hockey, running the clock down.
Hawks again pulled a goal back on 56.23. Ross Kennedy had a shot saved but Petr Valusiak was first to the rebound to score. The rink may well have to make roof repairs after this goal as the whole arena erupted. Spurred on by the fantastic support, Hawks threw everything but the kitchen sink on the Barons’ net but the black biscuit just would not cross the line. Hawks pulled their netminder with 40 seconds left but despite the great encouragement from the crowd, just could not get the puck across the line and the game finished with the visitors taking home the points.
Coach Duncombe said after he caught his breath, “ A tough result to take and I genuinely think we deserved something from the game. Cannot fault the lads tonight, they left everything out on the ice and with a bit of fortune we would have taken something. The crowd tonight was brilliant and made such a difference to every one of us. Fantastic work by those involved behind the scenes.”