TELFORD TIGERS 9 BLACKBURN HAWKS 1
BLACKBURN HAWKS 2 SOLWAY SHARKS 3
On Saturday the Hawks traveled to Telford for a tough away game against a much fancied Tigers team. Lying 3rd in the table the Tigers are serious title challengers this season and it was always going to be a tough game for the Hawks. Despite competing for 40 minutes the Hawks ran out of steam in the final period which saw Telford run away with the game.
Sunday evening saw Solway visit the Arena for the second consecutive Sunday. Before the game both teams and supporters came together to remember a legend of Hockey in Oleg Sinkov who sadly passed away at the age of 52 Oleg had a glittering career in Britain and in his homeland of the Ukraine including a record breaking points season with the Hawks.
The home team owed their supporters a performance and they came out firing, Playing a physical game they caught their opponents off guard with a hard hitting offensive first period. Hepburn in the Sharks goal was called into action thwarting Corey Stones on two separate separate occasions when the recent signing from Bradford looked certain to score. Solway are a slick breakout team and they nearly punished the Hawks through Struan Tonnar. The experienced forward was denied by the impressive Niks Trapans.
The first penalty of the game went predictably to the Hawks, Matt Viney was harshly adjudged to have boarded Jordan Buesa by referee Miller. It appeared to everyone in the rink that Buesa was already on his way down. Hawks managed to kill off the penalty and both teams went interval goalless.
There was no let up to the speed and physicality as the second period got underway, both teams were looking to stamp their authority on the other. It was the home team who dealt the first blow when Richard Bentham found himself unaccompanied in front of Hepburn. The former Shark needed no second invitation as he delivered a clinical back handed shot to the top corner.
Solway were handed another powerplay when Niks Trapans was adjudged to have tripped a Solway player as he skated through his crease. Instead of concentrating on killing the PP the home side were a little too adventurous and it nearly cost them when Stevie Moore intercepted a cross-ice pass and boar down on Trepans’, the young Latvian was in imperious form and he kept his cool and deflected the Scotsman’s shot wide.
Corey Stones was a man on a mission and was delivering some serious hits, one of which rocked Tonnar, Tonnar took exception to this but strangely declined Stones offer to dance. Stones was then punished for a check to the head which saw Buesa down on the ice for three or four minutes, Stones received a 2+10 penalty.
After killing another penalty on Bentham the Hawks broke away and veteran Aaron Davies fired past Hepburn with a trademark slap-shot to bring the home crowd to their feet.
If Hawks could score the next goal it would be game over, Davies, Bentham, Viney and Istocy all had golden chances but it wasn’t to be. The tide was about to turn. It needed either a stroke of genius or luck to beat Trapans. Unfortunately for the young Latvian it was the latter in the shape of a cruel deflection on a shot from Buesa which halved the deficit with eleven minutes remaining. The momentum was with the Sharks and it came as no surprised when they tied the game with 6.05 remaining, the goal coming from a cheap turnover in the Hawks zone.
Worse was to follow when two minutes later the comeback was complete, Charvat clinically fired past Trapans with less than three minutes remaining. The Hawks had little alternative but to swarm the Solway goal. They peppered Hepburn with shots and did everything but score, Kim Miettenen almost tied the game with 10 seconds remaining but unfortunately it was not to be.
It was a heartbreaking end after the Hawks had given their all in the game. A performance they should be proud of. Oleg Sinkov would have approved.