Your Full 9 Yards sponsored Blackburn Hawks played 2 games last weekend. Saturday saw Hawks play their last North Cup Qualifying game against the Murrayfield Racers and made a trip north to Whitley Bay to face the Warriors in a Moralee Division League game on Sunday.
Blackburn Hawks 6 Murrayfield Racers 4
Injury-hit Hawks were missing Adam Barnes, Rick Ravey, Steven Duncombe, Petr Valusiak and Craig Lutkovitch. Fellow NIHL teams answered Hawks call for help by providing James Parsons, Ryan Jones and Geoff Wigglesworth( all Deeside Dragons), Jay Robinson (Hull Jets) and Ronnie Grimes (Hawks 2). The Hawks management would like to thank the three teams for their help last weekend.
Racers were first to get on the board when, against the run of play, with a Hawks player heading for the bench having lost his helmet, left a high man all alone up ice. Aaron Robertson found Callum Boyd who took on Harrison Walker and beat him for 1-0. Timed at 1.42. Guest James Parsons was fitting in well and he found Ross Kennedy on the blue line and the latter let go a shot that the Racers’ netminder did well to hold. Hawks equalised on 7.37. Ross Kennedy won the puck in his own defensive zone. James Neil took up the puck and sent Ollie Lomax across the crease to wrong foot Wright and slot the puck home. Walker was the busier of the two netminders and he did well to keep the Scots at bay. Murrayfield took the lead for the second time on 16.48. Lewis Young took a pass from Josh Quinn and neat skating and puck control took him round the Hawks defence and a shot from the front of the crease found the back of the net for 1-2. Ollie Lomax was hit with a 10 minute misconduct as the period ended for a disagreement with referee Hamilton and it was 1-2 after 20 minutes of a fairly even contest.
In the early stages of the second period, both teams tested the netminders but both were having good games and kept the score at 1-2. Aaron Davies let off a good shot from out wide that came of Wright’s helmet and the referee blew the puck dead. From the resultant face off James Riddoch dropped the puck back to James Neil who sent a delightful pass to James Riddoch who beat the netminder through the five hole for 2-2. Timed at 25.41. This galvanised Hawks and they started to dominate the period. Aaron Davies, Jay Robinson and a superb skate by James Neal all tested the Racer’s netminder who was up to the task. Hawks pressure eventually paid off with their third goal of the evening. On 36.29 James Neal played the puck right on to the tape of a rushing James Royds and he smashed the puck into the net before the netminder moved. End of period 2 and a deserved 3-2 lead for the Hawks.
The third period started with referee Hamilton missing with a knee injury and the two linespersons took over with a two person crew. Hawks started as they finished the second with James Royds off on a solo run but just failed to make the final pass to a free James Riddoch. The home side doubled their lead on 49.19 Ross Kennedy was in the right place at the right time to deflect an Aaron Davies shot from the blue line to make the score 4-2. It was all Hawks and James Neal went off on a mazy run but Jay Robinson could not get on the end of a pass. Ronnie Grimes then shot from wide, forcing a good save from Wright. Murrayfield then hit back against the run of play and a rebound off Walker was shot back into the front of the net past a screened Walker by Martin Cingel. A one goal game on 51.20. Hawks replied less than a minute later when guest James Parsons shot towards the net and Ross Kennedy poked the biscuit home. 5-3 on 53 minutes. The excitement was not finished as Racers hit back once again on 57.49. when another screened shot, this time by Joel Gautschi beat Harrison Walker to bring it back once more to a 1 goal game. With 61 seconds left, Murrayfield pulled their netminder for the extra skater and put the home side under pressure. With 20 seconds left James Royds hit Hawks’ 6th goal with an empty netter. And so an exciting game came to an end with Hawks taking the points, but all credit to the Racers for being a part of a great nights entertainment.
Man of the Match award for Hawks went to James Neil, a well deserved award, however Harrison Walker, James Royds, Bobby Streetly all deserve a mention.
Assistant Coach James Neil said after the game: “ That was a good result with everybody signing up to the game plan. It looks like I will be running things until Duncs recovers and I have a few ideas. The guys were great tonight, doing all that was asked of them.”
Whitley Warriors 4 Blackburn Hawks 3
The Hawks fell to a narrow defeat in Whitley Bay, going down to a late goal from top player Ben Campbell, who hit a hat trick in the game. Hawks went a goal down after 10 minutes but equalised 9 minutes later through Petr Valusiak, assisted by James Neil and Ross Kennedy. Second period goals from Warriors (Ben Cambell) and James Riddoch meant that both teams would come out for the third period with the scores tied at 2-2.
Hawks took the lead early in the third through Petr Valusiak’s second goal of the evening but were pegged back soon after with another Ben Campbell goal. The winning goal came on 50.12 and although the Hawks laid siege on the Warriors goal they just could not get the equaliser.
All Photographs courtesy of Tom Foy