The Blackburn HAWKS finished their NIHL Moralee Conference campaign on a high-note with a commanding victory at the Sutton Sting.
The Hawks, who travelled with a significantly reduced bench, also secured their fourth shutout of the season with a 5-0 win in which club captain, Chris Arnone scored a hat trick. Forward Aaron Davies and player-coach Jared Owen were also on the score sheet for the visiting side who finish the season in a record-equalling second place.
As a result, Blackburn’s tally for the season stands at won-16, drawn-4 and lost-8 over 28 games.
Although the Hawks’ place in the end of season playoffs is already secure, the result was a setback for Sutton who are currently chasing the one remaining spot for the inaugural weekend event in Dumfries. A draw for Whitley against the Manchester Minotaurs helped rivals Billingham in securing third spot in the table, meaning the North East side will face Blackburn in the semi final on the 12 April.
The Hawks now take a one week break before facing Solway in the Northern Cup.
The final fixture of the cup league stage will decide which two teams compete in a home/away legged final, with the Hawks needing a win or a draw to progress, regardless of results elsewhere. Details of the Northern Cup final will be released on the Hawks website and social media should the team secure their spot.
Speaking with the Lancashire Telegraph after Sunday’s game, Hawks captain, and game MVP Chris Arnone said: “It was the first time I’ve scored a hat trick in senior hockey. Scoring isn’t a very regular occurrence for me so it was brilliant to get three.
“I’ve had a shoulder injury recently and didn’t think I was even going to be playing until Thursday night when I turned up at training
“Jared (Owen) said that Budzie (Daniel MacKriel) wouldn’t be able to play because his Dad was in hospital, so asked if I could play instead.
“The shoulder was okay. I’ve got a lot of strapping and tape on it, like the footballers have. Hopefully it will be fine now with the matches coming up.”
(Images by John Milton – togger.co.uk)