Blackburn Hawks’ play-off push suffered a setback following back-to-backs defeats to Whitley Warriors.
Hawks’ three-match winning streak came to an end when Whitley won 5-2 at the Blackburn Arena and then 4-2 on home ice 24 hours later.
An expectant crowd of over 750 fans took their seats on Saturday, as both teams took to the ice with near full-strength sides.
After an even opening, in which Sam Dunford and Brian Worrall both went close for the hosts, a Hawks powerplay midway through the first period brought the opening goal, with Chris Arnone’s powerful
shot re-directed beyond the keeper by Aaron Davies.
Hawks then failed to capitalise on another powerplay and they were made to pay when Whitley equalised on 15 minutes through DJ Good.
On 33 minutes, Hawks went ahead on a powerplay for the second time, as swift passing by Jared Owen and Ric Hughes set up Jordan Bannon to score.
As the period drew to a close, the home side were denied what appeared to be a blatant penalty shot and the result ultimately hinged on that decision.
Whitley drew level in the final period after Brittle failed to hold onto a speculative shot and a second goal in as many minutes saw them take the lead.
Two quick penalties gave the Hawks a five-on-three, but they failed to take advantage and as they pushed forward in the final few minutes, they were twice undone by wayward passing, with Whitley
showing composure in front of goal to run out 5-2 winners.
Hawks gave a better account of themselves on Sunday, but again ran out of steam late on.
Team manager Graham Lomax said: “We’re disappointed we lost both games, but it’s not the end of the world.
“We went into the games optimistic that we were going to beat last year’s league champions, which shows how far we have come.”