Sheffield Steeldogs 4 Blackburn Hawks 1
Your Full 9 Yards sponsored Blackburn Hawks made the short journey across the Pennines to play the Sheffield Steeldogs in a North Cup qualifying game. Hawks could not qualify for the semi finals and the Steeldogs were already through so on paper a meaningless game. Somebody forgot to tell the two teams as they provided an entertaining 60 minutes for the small crowd.
Hawks were missing Rick Ravey, Adam Barnes and Kieran Brown and made a slow start to the game, falling behind to a delayed penalty goal by Milan Kolena. Hawks were on a powerplay as Liam Charnock was sitting a 2 minute interference penalty and when Sheffield won the puck in their own zone, referee Emmerson put his hand up for a hooking offence. Thomas Relf found Ashley Calvert who sent sniper Milan Kolena away and he sent the puck through Harrison Walker’s five hole for 1-0 timed at 3.10. A quick turn of pace left Hawks trailing on 3.39 as Callum Brownley hit the puck home from short range. Assists went to Liam Charnock and Adrian Palak. The Dogs were dominating the game and Hawks were having real problems holding on to the puck. The Hawks defence were working their socks off and weathered a 10 minute storm and eventually got their game going with a Petr Valusiak coast to coast skate to force a good save out of Warburton in the Steeldogs net. Ashley Calvert then decided to have a go at our Mr Cool – Luke Boothroyd and ended up with no reaction and 2 minutes for a crosscheck and another 2 for roughing. Steeldogs were again looking more dangerous when short handed and Harrison Walker came up with a series of saves to keep the score down. Hawks reduced the deficit on 29.54 with an excellent top shelf goal by James Royds. Assists went to James Riddoch and Danny Nomanovas. That was all the scorer had to do and the period ended with the home side ahead, but with only a one goal deficit and finishing the stronger, Hawks were not out of it.
The second period was delayed for about 10 minutes because of a hole just outside one of the penalty boxes. It was right up against the boards and took a bit of fixing. Harrison Walker continued his impressive form with another series of saves to keep the Dogs from adding to the score. Hawks were beginning to trouble the home side and a good combination play between James Royds and Lee Pollitt ended with a comfortable save by the Dogs’ netminder from a Luke Boothroyd shot. Ashley Calvert again went looking for trouble by elbowing Ollie Lomax. He then went for a second go with a cross check and Lomax retaliated with one of his own. Result – 2 minutes each for cross checking with the original elbow missed. James Riddoch lost his stick as the Steeldogs swarmed round Harrison’s goal and showed his football skills with some neat footwork. Hawks were still working hard and Jack Murray kept hold of the puck under pressure in centre ice and found Ross Kennedy who shot straight into Warburton’s glove. The homeside scored a very fortunate goal on 38.57. Ross Kennedy took a nasty check from behind, missed by the referee and Steeldogs took possession and Milan Kolena charged through to slip the puck through Walker’s legs. Hawk great 2nd period play did not deserve that result and the period ended 3-1 to Sheffield.
Steeldogs came out for the third period, looking to put the game to bed but Hawks defence held out comfortably. The away fans held their breath as Lee Pollitt took a puck to the leg and went down hard onto the ice. Fortunately he managed to work it off and made it to the bench on his own steam. Hawks were giving Dogs a tough time but struggled to get the puck on the net. Harrison was standing on his head as Steeldogs tried to turn their superiority into goals but Hawks were not giving in lightly. Adrian Palak scored a heartbreaking fourth goal for the Steeldogs on 56.12 as he charged forward on his own, rounding Bobby Streetly and poking the puck past Walker. Hawks were looking tired now against Sheffield’s four lines but managed to prevent any further scoring and the match ended 4-1 to the home side.
Man of the match for Hawks deservedly went to Harrison Walker but 3 or 4 others on the team could well have picked up the beers.
This was a good performance from Blackburn after going 2 goals behind early in the game. Despite being outshot by 50-15 the 4-1 scoreline did not reflect the effort put in by Hawks in this game
Coach Duncombe said after the game,” Cannot fault the guys’ efforts tonight but you cannot give a team like Sheffield a two goal start. We battled well and Craig Lutkovich and Bobby Streetly could also have got the man of the match award. However Harrison’s display was top class and no complaints from me for picking up the beers.”