BLACKBURN Hawks coach Jared Owen believes his side are capable of beating anyone in their league after shocking title favourites Billingham All Stars on Sunday.
A battling 5-4 victory at Billingham boosted Hawks’ own play-off hopes this season with Owen insisting improving on last season’s efforts is still their aim.
Billingham beat Hawks in the Engish National Ice Hockey League North One play-off final last season, having won the league as well, and have started this campaign strongly.
Hawks’ victory will send a warning signal to their rivals though as Owen said: “We played Billingham four times on their patch last season and didn’t manage to beat them. “So for us to go up there and beat them at the first attempt this season is a real positive.
“I am over the moon. I was very pleased with the character and the way the lads stuck together when it got hard. We wanted to win the game and that was pleasing.
“I have said from day one when we play our own game, we are a very good team. “Our problems come when we watch other teams play like we did against Solway earlier this season.
“If you look at the league, Solway and Billingham are the stand out teams but we showed on Sunday what we are capable of. Then when you get to the play-offs, it is about two matches and who plays the best on the day.
“It is about who wants to win the most. I believe we are improving all the time and I am looking forward to what is to come.”
Owen, Sam Dunford, a Chris Arnone brace and Ivo Dimitrijevs were the scorers for the visitors as they resisted Billingham’s late fight back on Sunday.
“They scored four power play goals, three of which were five on three,” said Owen. “So when we were five on five, we were the dominant team.
“We did run into a bit of penalty trouble and we need to keep our discipline better. But we were exceptional when we were even handed.
“We created a lot of chances and, when we needed to, we dug in to keep hold of the lead. That spirit was probably the most pleasing part.
“In the third period, they scored two power play goals, one of which was with three minutes left. “Last season, we might have crumbled and they could have won the game. “This time we refused to let it get to us.”