Blackburn HAWKS’ winning start to the season ended in double-header away disappointment.
Hawks were held to a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Spartans on Saturday, before Billingham Stars exacted revenge for their 2-1 defeat at Hawks in the first round of the cup with a 4-1 win in the reverse fixture – Hawks’ first loss of the season in six games.
Jared Owen’s side were missing key players this weekend, with David Meikle, Ivo Dimitrijevs and Scott Robson unavailable on Saturday, and Daniel Brittle added to the list of absentees on Sunday.
“I think we have suffered from a little bit of complacency,” said Owen, right.
“We made a good start to the season, but no games last weekend seems to have upset us.
“We came back to two difficult games this weekend and we have been brought back down to earth with a bump”.
Hawks trailed at Sheffield, against a side they had beaten handsomely at home last month.
Owen’s men made a host of chances but struggled to convert.
Myles Dacres eventually came up with a welcome equaliser to maintain their unbeaten run in the league.
But last season’s play-off champions were to taste defeat for the first time this term the following day.
Having beaten Billingham 2-1 at home in the first match of the cup – which operates a round-robin system – Stars were out for revenge. They were 1-0 up at the end of the first period and closed the second with a single power play goal.
Tempers flared after Stars made it 3-0 with another power play strike. Dacres was penalised for a punch and the home side took advantage to make it 4-0.
Adam Brittle scored a consolation with just 10 seconds on the clock, but it did little to lift Hawks’ spirits.
“They outworked us, they outplayed us and they finished their chances well – all credit to Billingham,” said Owen.