Blackburn HAWKS started the new season in style with a four-point weekend.
All eyes are on Jared Owen’s men to see how they respond to winning the National Ice Hockey League North One play-off final, and in doing so clinching their first piece of silverware in the club’s 23-year history.
On this early evidence they look set for another good season.
They had their work cut out in the opening game after twice falling behind to Manchester Minotaurs in the newly named Moralee Conference.
Hawks trailed the first period 1-0 and the second 2-1 but recovered to stage a grand finale in the third and win 4-2.
The weekend got even better in front of a 700 home crowd at Blackburn Ice Arena.
Owen’s side dominated Sheffield Spartans from start to finish.
It took the returning Ivo Dimitrijevs less than five minutes to make his mark with the opening goal.
Rick Hughes doubled Hawks’ lead in the seventh minute before captain Chris Arnone crashed in a third before the end of the first period.
Hawks ended the second with a 5-0 lead, but with the game growing increasingly bad-tempered Aaron Davies suffered the ignominy of going off for high sticks after scoring the fifth.
Hawks had a sixth chalked off for high sticks in the third, and try as Daniel Mackriel might he just could not make the most of his chances to add to the scoresheet.
Spartans had similar problems in their quest for a consolation, and they let their frustration get the better of them with contact between players rising.
Hawks piled on late pressure, while a brief stoppage for blood on the ice further took the sting out of Spartans tail.
Hawks were hungry for a sixth, and their persistence paid off to round off what proved to be a particularly good night for the Brittle brothers.
Adam, a new signing from MK Lightning, rounded off an eye-catching performance with the sixth and final goal, while his netminder brother Daniel kept his concentration to record a shut-out.
The Hawks return to action this coming Saturday with a trip to face the Telford Titans, currently lying bottom of the Moralee Conference.
On Sunday the Billingham Stars visit the arena for the first cup fixture of the season.
[Images used with kind permission of John Milton. Copyright togger.co.uk]