The Blackburn HAWKS have secured their best league finish since 1996 despite losing at home to Solway Sharks on Sunday.
Hawks were beaten 4-2 at the Blackburn Arena by the Scottish side, who secured the Moralee Conference top spot in February. But results elsewhere ensured that the Hawks will finish second in the league, equalling their best ever position.
Blackburn fell behind after only three minutes on Sunday, as the visitors found the net through Stevie Moore. The Solway forward made it 2-0 only two minutes later, but the prolific Adam Brittle pulled a goal back in the 14th minute. Solway scored again through Struan Tonnar to led 3-1 at the end of the first period, but a goal from Jon Adams gave Hawks hope during the second period.
The final period saw a physical contest boil over in a number of incidents that lead to angry confrontations between the two sides. The home side – and an increasingly vocal home crowd – voiced their displeasure as penalty decisions went against the Hawks, with little going against the visitors.
Tempers flared dramatically when acting Assistant Captain, Jon Adams, challenged referee Goodwin’s dubious penalty call against David Meikle.
Adams was subsequently issued with a 10 minute misconduct penalty, prompting further angry protestations from the Canadian, who was hit with a 10 + 10 game misconduct, penalty and a 25 minute match penalty.
With Adams ejected from the game, and the Hawks facing a lengthy penalty-kill, the Sharks took full advantage and finished strongly with their fourth of the game through James Wallace.
Hawks play their final league fixture at Sutton Sting on Sunday at 4.30pm, with the play-offs taking place in Dumfries on the weekend of April 12 and 13.
The Hawks travel to face Solway again on March 22 in their last group game in the NLN Cup.
The club will await the EIHA decision regarding any disciplinary action against Adams and will consider their position on the matter this week. Any updates will be posted to the club website, Twitter feed and Facebook.
(Images by John Milton – togger.co.uk)