The Blackburn HAWKS suffered an agonising league defeat with four late third-period goals from the Whitley Warriors overturning a three goal deficit.
The HAWKS were the better side for much of the contest as they looked to secure much needed points on the road. But a third period collapse meant that the Lancastrians made the long journey home empty handed, having suffered their sixth consecutive defeat away from the Blackburn Arena.
Blackburn started brightly as an early penalty against the home side provided an opportunity for the Hawks to open their account. But, with the advantage over, it would fall to new signing Jake Nurse to impress on his debut by driving the puck past Mark Turnbull in the Warriors net.
Despite a penalty to Chris Butler that put Whitley at a one-man advantage, neither team was able to find the net until the second period of play – Jon Adams combining with Owen and Brittle to place a classy finish and increase the Hawks’ advantage.
Adams was soon on the scoresheet for a second time as Scot Robson’s rebounded slap-shot fell at his feet for a simple finish. The goal was Adams’ fourth in three games and a sign of things to come as the Canadian further integrates into the team.
Despite increased pressure from the Warriors, the visiting side seemed comfortably in control of the final period of play. An early penalty shot awarded against the Hawks was admirably turned away by Danny Brittle off Ben Richards’ stick and the travelling support clearly expected their team to play the game out.
However, with 51 minutes gone Whitley’s DJ Good found the puck on his stick and beat Brittle over the shoulder to bring the lead down to two.
Sensing an opportunity, the home side unleashed wave after wave of attack on the Blackburn net finding their reward just five minutes later with a goal from Adam Reynolds. The Whitley forward was to find his second less than a minute later, tying the game at 3-3.
The Hawks benefited from a much-needed respite when Whitley called a 30-second time-out with the momentum firmly in their favour and the pressure was to intensify as the seconds ticked away.
With five seconds remaining, Reynolds and Watson combined to find DJ Good who in turn found the back of the net with a calm finish past Brittle, overturning the Hawks’ lead and sealing the victory for the North East side.
Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, Hawks captain Chris Arnone said: “Disappointing, frustrating – they’re pretty much the first words that spring to mind, the printable ones anyway.
“We did everything right for 55 minutes and there was only us in the game. It was one of our best road games all season; they couldn’t live with us.
“We just sat back and maybe we thought we already had the game in the bag.
If that was the case, it shouldn’t have been because it’s happened to us before up there.
“But we can’t let our heads drop, we have to take the positives out of the performance, including a debut goal for Jake Nurse.
“He looked like he had been with us for a while and hopefully he will prove to be a real asset to us in the coming games. Because we can’t really afford to lose again now, given the number of points we’ve dropped in recent months, and teams are picking up points around us.
But in my experience we play better with our backs against the wall. We’ve put a winning streak together before when we’ve needed to and I’m confident we can do it again.”
The Hawks are back in action at home against the Billingham Stars on December 15.