The Blackburn HAWKS were unable to overcome a one goal deficit as they missed out on a spot in the Northern Cup final in another closely fought contest in Dumfries.
The Sharks were on the board early on Saturday evening when Pavol Melichercik found the net, but Blackburn’s Aaron Davies was quick to restore parity on the powerplay less than two minutes later.
And so it would remain until later in the period when the league leaders had Hawks’ netminder Daniel Brittle beat with two quickfire goals to put them 3 : 1 in front with five minutes remaining in the first.
But the Hawks would answer again and we’re good value for their second goal as the free-scoring Adam Brittle closed on Hobbins in the Solway net to fire home shortly before the break.
The second period saw an excellent exhibition of ‘attack and counter-attack’ hockey, with the Hawks’ skilled forwards consistently threatening the home team’s goal. But it would be Solway who would take their opportunities first as Brittle scrambled to collect a rebound which Stevie Moore duly pounced on to restore his side’s three goal lead.
Despite the frantic action at both ends of the ice, neither team could get a firm grip on the game, and it would take another late goal from the Hawks to bring the game back in reach for the visitors. Hawks captain Chris Arnone, taking the puck deep into the opposition zone, found the trailing Aaron Davies who fired past the stricken Hobbins for his second and to close the second period at 4 : 3.
Despite pressure from both sides – including several near misses and goal-mouth scrambles – neither team was able to add to their tally for the evening in the third period and the game came to a close in disappointment for the East Lancashire side, and their supporters, who had come within touching distance of a spot in the Northern Cup final.
Solway will meet the Sutton Sting to compete for the trophy.
On Sunday the HAWKS returned home for a challenge fame against the Royal Navy.
The contest provided a chance for head coach Jared Owen to hand an opportunity to some of the Hawks of the future, as a number of players from the Blackburn Eagles side stepped up to ice for the home side.
Despite a one sided contest, including a goal from Daniel Brittle who was playing in an unfamiliar forward role, the Navy team continued to push their opponents to the last, in a spirited display that earned the praise of the Hawks and their fans alike.
The game finished in a 20 : 4 win for the Hawks, who now turn their attentions to the playoff finals in Dumfries on the 12 / 13 April. For more information and to book your ticket, visit http://www.blackburnhawks.com/news/playoff-weekend-tickets-now-available/.
Photography courtesy of David Morrison (david-morrison-photography.co.uk) and John Milton (togger.co.uk)