[From the Lancashire Telegraph] The Blackburn HAWKS return to the ice this weekend after 21 days without a fixture, and coach Jared Owen is targeting another home success against Solway Sharks.
While the Hawks have been resting up for the past two weekends their Scottish rivals have added two new signings, including New Zealand international forward Joshua Hay.
Owen is aware that the Sharks’ visit to East Lancashire tomorrow (face-off 5.45pm) will provide his squad with a tough test as they look to hit the ground running on their return.
“These games are always tough,” he said the Hawks’ coach.
“They’ve added a couple of import players since we last played them and they’ve had some good results recently as well.
“Games against Solway weren’t easy before they added the imports. I’m sure it will be a high quality game and they are very capable of winning, so we will have to make sure we are playing to our maximum capability to get a result.”
The Hawks top the Moralee Conference after five wins and a draw in their first six games, and Owen admits that the break didn’t come at a great time, with his side in excellent league form during September and October.
“The break has allowed us to get a few guys rested up and recovered from injuries,” he said.
“But in another way we wanted to keep playing because we had some good momentum before the break, but that’s the way the fixture list falls and we have to deal with it.
“There’s been a few guys resting so we haven’t had as many bodies as normal out on the ice training.
“It is sometimes difficult to maintain that intensity in training when you haven’t got the games at the weekend.
“There are always areas we can work on though and at the start of the break we identified a few things we wanted to improve, but until we get back out there in games we won’t really know how well that has gone.”
The Hawks are the only unbeaten side of the seven in the Moralee Conference, and Owen wants to see that run extended, and placed particular emphasis on winning games at the Blackburn Ice Arena.
He said: “We have got to win games at home, getting home wins puts you in a very good position so if we can maintain that it puts pressure on the other teams around us.”
One player who won’t be returning to the squad this weekend is Jake Nurse, who is recovering from a suffered a fractured eye socket in the cup game against Manchester Phoenix.
“He’s getting better day by day,” said Owen.
“He’s still having problems with headaches and a bit of light sensitivity. Hopefully we will start to see some big improvements by Christmas.”