HAWKS player-coach Jared Owen has urged his on-fire side to play their own game in Sunday’s crucial NIHL Moralee Conference home clash with Sutton Sting (5.45pm).
The Hawks will go into the battle of the high flyers with confidence high after a stunning eight-match winning run which has hauled them back into the title race – and out in front in the NorthernCup standings.
But the fourth-placed Blackburn Ice Arena outfit have lost three of their four encounters with the Sting so far this season.
Owen believes that is because they have, wrongly, chosen to fight fire with fire.
He said: “We have not played well against Sutton. They are an attacking, offensively strong team and when we have played them it’s almost been a case of, ‘you go, we go’.
“But that has played right into their hands and we cannot afford to do that on Sunday.
“Our success has been built on a strong defence. We’re now getting the goals, too, which is great.
“But we cannot get caught playing their game.
“We have to do what we do best and that is remain defensively strong and take our chances when they arrive. If we can do that it will give us a strong foundation on which I would be confident we could get the win.”
A ninth-straight victory for the Hawks would move them above the Sting into third.
It would also set the Hawks up perfectly for their trip to Scotland to take on table-topping Solway Sharks next weekend.
Owen said: “We are just concentrating on the next game.
“If we can get a result against Sutton on Sunday it would allow us to go into the Solway game with confidence.
“But we know the next two games are important. If we can take four points it would really put the pressure on the teams above us.”
Owen will be at full-strength for the Sting showdown as captain Chris Arnone returns from a two-match ban.
(Photos by John Milton – togger.co.uk)