NIHL Midland Cup
Hawks line up: 15+2 – Sutton Sting line up: 15+2
Netminders: Hawks Harrison Walker – Sutton Sting Ben Ward
Face off takes place and Sting look very dangerous in front of net right from the start. There’s a face-off to Harrison Walker’s right and Aaron Davies surges over the blue line and unleashes a slap shot. It’s off Ben Ward’s pad but Petr Valusiak, on Davies’ tail, follows up with top shelfer which unsettles Ward’s water bottle.
GOAL! Sutton Sting 0-1 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 11 minutes 33 seconds
Stings Scott Morris takes a 2-minute penalty for tripping leaving the Hawks on a power play but Sutton defend well to keep the puck out of Ward’s net. Sting return to 5 skaters. James Riddoch is set up going forwards and controls the puck well in front of the net. He draws the puck wide but Ward follows him well and protects his 5 hole. There’s a face-off to Ward’s left with 15 seconds remaining in the first. Sting take possession of the puck at the back but only get as far as Harrison’s blue line before the buzzer goes. End of First: Sutton Sting 0-1 Blackburn Hawks As the second period begins Hawks need to step it up a gear if they’re to remain in front and still challenge in the third period.
Hawks maintain possession in the final third but are kept to the edges and Sting take possession. Harrison makes a great glove save after the Sting fly up the ice and immediately challenge with a top corner shot. Hawks take their turn to attack as Aaron Davies crosses the blue line but his back pass intended for point is easily intercepted by Sting who break through Hawks defense and it’s left to Harrison to keep Hawks ahead. Craig Luketvitch stays strong at the back and poke checks well to slow Sting down. Hawks are playing well short-handed with Petr and then Pollitt with the puck in the final third to tick down the penalty clock. Hawks return to full strength after a very well dealt with penalty kill. Sting #14 takes a 2-minute penalty for slashing so the Hawks are 5 on 4. They spend a good minute in the final third and pass well between each other. Hawks do everything but score as Sting return to 5 skaters. James Riddoch takes a 2-minute penalty for tripping and Sting don’t give up and despite a Hawks defenceman sliding across the slot a shot from Cameron Glasby from the centre zone makes the back of Harrison’s net bulge.
Goal: SUTTON STING 1-1 Blackburn Hawks 30 minutes 56 seconds
Lee Pollitt and Stings Scott Morris both take a 2 minute penalty for tripping so play is now 4 on 4. Hawks attack but Sting soon turn the puck over catching Hawks off guard and high up the ice. Sting’s Ben Lowe is one on one with Harrison and deftly lifts the puck into the roof of the net.
Goal: SUTTON STING 2-1 Blackburn Hawks. 31 minutes 46 seconds
Hawks try to fight back but Sting have woken up in the second half of the second period. Hawks were punished severely for taking their foot off the gas but seem back to determined attacking play. Neither team keeps hold of the puck for very long as it passes through the neutral zone both way. Ronnie Grimes picks Sting’s pocket in the neutral zone but is a tad too zealous pushing the puck forwards and he can’t get back to it. Hawks come under pressure from Sting for a good few minutes while Sting pepper the goal with shots and the puck bounces round like a pin ball. Harrison does incredibly well to keep it out. It isn’t for long though as Sting keep firing the puck in. This time from the blue line and #25’s powerful shot beats Hawks’ last line of defense.
Goal: SUTTON STING 3-1 Blackburn Hawks. 37 minutes 42 seconds
Tempers are raised and players come together as Lee Pollitt and Sting’s Ben Lowe drop the gloves. Lee loses his helmet but Lowe keeps his on – it’s just as well as Lee lands punch after punch. He takes a few himself before the referees break it up. There’s blood on the ice so the decision is made to finish the second period at 17 minutes 42 seconds. The penalties following he fight are confirmed as 2+2+10 for fighting for both Pollitt and Lowe. Craig Lutkevitch also takes a 10-minute misconduct.
End of second: Sutton Sting 3-1 Blackburn Hawks
The rest of the 2nd period commences after the break and Joe and Petr link up well to trouble Sting. Joe takes a shot from the slot but takes his time about it allowing Sting to block it and that’s the official end to the second period Hawks win the face-off for the third period and attack but Sting ice the puck. Sting have a go on the offensive but are shut down quickly by Hawks. Joe challenges Ward with a big slap shot but again it’s saved. Hawks keep possession and their presence felt in the final third. Riddoch feeds Corey Lee at centre blue line and the puck flies past Ward.
GOAL! Sutton Sting 3-2 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 42 minutes 16 seconds
Hawks keep Sting under threat as Corey makes his way in front of net and fires on Ward. He saves but the puck is loose. Riddoch charges in to one time the rebound but Ward holds on to it Sting attack quickly and Jack Murray finds himself on the wrong side of a 2 on 1. The puck is passed across Harrison’s net and Ryan Johnson fires the puck home.
Goal: SUTTON STING 4-2 Blackburn Hawks. 43 minutes 57 seconds
It’s end to end hockey with both teams playing well defensively and offensively as Sting play incredibly well to glide through Hawks and wrong foot Harrison. A wrap-around is almost in and thankfully the Sting player in the crease fans on the puck but Harrison is aware enough to get back in front of net and prevent the inevitable looking goal. Sting all converge around the crease and traffic is heavy in front of Harrison. Sting’s George Crawshaw comes out on top and pokes the puck across the goal line.
Goal: SUTTON STING 5-2 Blackburn Hawks. 48 minutes 24 seconds
Sting just keep coming. Luco is undone as Sting’s Charlie Saunders moves past him and shoots. Jared at the far post can’t do enough to keep the puck out and it’s in off his stick.
Goal: SUTTON STING 6-2 Blackburn Hawks 49 minutes 59 seconds
Jared clears a stray puck from the face-off, lifting the puck and Corey raises his stick high to meet it. The ref blows for the high stick. Joe Greaves appears to be injured and limps from the ice to the changing rooms. Hawks captain Royds takes control of the game and Hawks set up around Sting. A shot and pad save sees Sting take possession and attack but it’s short-lived as Riddoch tackles and heads towards Ward. Referee Brown raises his arm for a delayed penalty against Sting and Josh Yeardley sits a 2-minute penalty for hooking Hawks control the puck around Sting defense and Neilly finds Pollitt in the slot who drops to his knee and one times it but it’s adrift of the target. Hawks arent deterred. James Riddoch passes the puck into the crease and Petr puts his all into a short-range shot. Ward gets to it but is still beaten by Petr’s power and the puck finds its way behind him.
GOAL! Sutton Sting 6-3 BLACKBURN HAWKS. 54 minutes 29 seconds
Hawks seem to have a second wind and are all guns blazing in the final third. A fast-paced shot from Pollitt is just wide of the post. Sting’s Scott Morris seems to take on every Hawks player on the ice as he makes his way goal wards and he wins out. He nutmegs Harrison for Sutton’s 7th.
Goal: SUTTON STING 7-3 Blackburn Hawks. 57 minutes 6 seconds
A face-off to Harrison’s left is won by Hawks and they charge up the ice. Hawks are crowded out and Sting go on the offensive but a Sting shot from the face-off circle is too high. Sting’s Jamie Scott and Tom Revesz each take a 2-minute penalty for roughing leaving the teams at 4 on 4. Pollitt finds himself in space and shoots but it’s into Ward’s chest. With 1 minute remaining in the game, Sting’s Mitchell takes a 2-minute penalty for slashing. Hawks are 4 on 3 and Jared pushes in and makes a strong shot from the slot but the aim is off. Hawks return to 5 skaters shortly before the final shortly before the final buzzer goes with nothing more of note.
Final Score: Sutton Sting 7-3 Blackburn Hawks
Blackburn Hawks – Corey Lee Sutton
Sting – #34 Benjamin Marples
Photos courtesy of Steve Pollitt