Blackburn HAWKS remain fifth in the NIHL Moralee Conference table after back-to-back defeats at the weekend.
The Hawks were beaten 6-3 at home to Sutton Sting on Saturday night, before going down to a narrow 2-1 loss at Billingham Stars on Sunday.
Sutton had won only one of their previous five games this season when they travelled to the Blackburn Ice Arena, but a gutsy performance in the third period from the visitors sealed a well-earned win for the Nottinghamshire outfit.
A fast and flowing game throughout, the first period ended scoreless before Adam Brittle put the Hawks ahead early in the second period, when he stepped up to fire home MacKriel’s rebound.
But the Hawks’ lead was to be short-lived as Sutton levelled the tie only minutes later, and, although Brittle netted again to put the Hawks back in front, the visitors went into the second intermission level at 2-2, before surging into a 5-2 lead in the third. Ric Hughes pulled a goal back, but Sutton rounded off their 6-3 victory in the closing stages.
But Billingham, who had slipped to a 2-0 defeat in Solway the previous night, claimed a 2-1 victory over the Lancastrians, taking the lead 12 minutes into the game.
Hawks equalised during the second period thanks to a well taken power play goal from Adam Brittle, continuing his excellent offensive output for the weekend. But Blackburn were unable to capitalise on any further chances.
James Moss sealed the deal for Billingham in the final period to give the hosts a 2-1 victory and assure their position at the top of the table for this week at least.
Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, Hawks captain Chris Arnone, who missed both games through suspension, said: “We didn’t play well at all at home to Sutton and it was hard to watch.
“We had a short bench, probably only about two lines, but that was no excuse for the way we played. We played better at Billingham on Sunday, so at least there was a response in terms of performance and attitude and putting right a lot of the wrongs in that sense.
“We just can’t put the puck away at the minute. Hopefully it’s just a phase we’ve been going through and we can snap out of it this weekend at home to Telford.”