Warriors Too Strong for Hawks
Full 9 yards sponsored Blackburn Hawks fell to defeat at the nest in their only game of the weekend.
The home side lined up without Rick Ravey, Adam Barnes, Ollie Lomax, Jared Dickinson and James Neil. Coach Neil was performing his duties on the bench. Harrison Walker took his place between the pipes.
Warriors started the strongest and spent most of the first two minutes in the Hawks defensive zone. The pressure paid off on 2.31. Daniel Good took a pass from Callum Watson and crossed the blue line through the Hawks defence and fired the puck past Harrison Walker. The goal fired Hawks up and good play by Valusiak and Pollitt produced shots on Boyle in the Warriors net but the netminder was up to the task.
Ross Kennedy, playing like a man possessed after his lay-off then hit a wicked slapshot from the point onto Boyle’s pads but nobody was there to follow up. Robin Kovar was troubling Warriors defence with some great skates, including a shot that rebounded off Boyle but nobody was following up. The crowd of over 1000 were being treated to an excellent end to end game. Chances fell to both sides with both netminders on their A game. Warriors finished the stronger but the score remained 0-1 at the end of the period.
The second period started pretty much like the first ended with both teams working hard to advance the score. Chances came and went for both sides until 27.46 when Warriors doubled their lead on the powerplay with Aaron Davies in the box on a tripping penalty. A concerted attack orchestrated by veteran David Longstaff and Ben Campbell ended up with Rolands Gritans slotting the puck home between Walker’s pads and the post.
Hawks went on the powerplay after a delay of game penalty on the Warriors quickly followed by another for misconduct as something was said to referee Miller by Campbell as he made for the bench. Hawks threw the puck on the net several times but Boyle was up to the task. A superb move on the power play by Hawks saw them reduce the arrears on 29.51. Lee Pollitt, behind the net, found Luke Boothroyd on the point, on to Robin Kovar who sent a pass across the blue line to Ross Kennedy who one-timed the puck into the net. With Hawks still on a 5 on 3 after another Warriors infringement, Luke Boothroyd found James Royds on the far post and with the puck heading for the net, Boyle made an incredible save to keep his side in the lead. Whitley worked the puck from the back on 36.08 with Callum Watson and Phillip Edgar worked the puck over the blue line. Ross Kennedy did his best to narrow the angles but Ross Connolly surged into the gap to bury the puck past Walker. 1-3. Hawks heads dropt a minute later with the visitor’s 4th goal. Edgar won a face off and a quick pass to Callum Watson sent the puck goalwards. The screening did the rest as the puck went high into the net. Goal timed at 37.09. Hawks fought back bravely but the period ended with Warriors in command and leading 4-1.
Fans in the stands thought Hawks had got a goal back early in the third period when James Riddoch sent the puck goalwards after a great passage of play but with Boyle beaten the puck agonizingly hit the post and went to safety. The fans had good reason to celebrate on 43.56 when Blackburn hit their second of the night.
Robin Kovar won a couple of battles on the boards and released the puck to Luke Boothroyd on the point and a trade mark slapshot found the net. 2-4. Second assist went to Jordan Bannon.
Hawks were having a good period of play and slowly forcing Warriors onto the back foot but any chance of a comeback was lost on 46.47 with a 5th goal, A quick face off win was sent from the back of the net to Daniel Good who wasted no time in finding the string bag. Warriors took control of the game from then and further goals from Maddock and a hat trick score from Daniel Good finished the game at 7-2 to Whitley Warriors.
A spirited performance in parts of the game by Hawks but Warriors were well worth their win and Hawks will need to regroup for next weeks must win game against Billingham.
Man of the match for Hawks deservedly went to Ross Kennedy for his all round play at both ends of the ice. Mentions must also go to Harrison Walker and Craig Lutkevitch
Hawks next home game is on Sunday 24th February against Billingham with the usual face off at 1730hrs.