BLACKBURN Hawks bounced back from a disappointing 11-3 defeat at Telford Titans on Saturday with a deserved 3-1 win at home to Coventry Blaze.
On their return to English National Ice Hockey League action after the Christmas break, Hawks travelled to Telford without injured player-coach Jared Owen and the lack of leadership on the ice proved costly.
Despite trailing 2-0 at the end of the first period, Hawks were still very much in the game.
However, they were made to pay for failing to convert their chances on powerplays, as the Titans stormed into a 7-1 lead at the end of the second, with both sides added to their tally in the third.
Sunday’s home clash with Coventry was a different story altogether.
On seven minutes, Chris Arnone made a superb interception to halt a three-on-one and immediately turned defence into attack. Tom King took control of the puck and kept his composure to slot home.
Aaron Davies thought he had doubled Hawks’ lead, but the goal judge ruled that the puck hadn’t crossed the line, while at the other end, Danny Brittle had to be alert to make a fine double save from close range.
With the first period winding down, Chris Arnone took a penalty for cross-checking and it was during this powerplay that Brittle was finally beaten.
After a goalless second period, Hawks again turned up the heat on the visitors in the final third.
A sustained spell of pressure finally told on 46 minutes, when Sam Dunford teed up King, who bundled the puck over the line.
Four minutes later and the spectators’ nerves were eased, as a long dump out of defence was followed in by the energetic Davies, who robbed the defender and laid a backhand pass into the path of Chris Arnone, who steadied himself before letting fly past the flat-footed keeper.
A frantic finale ensued as Hawks were reduced to three men, but the defence stood up strong to the onslaught to see out the win.
Team manager Graham Lomax said: “Saturday’s result has now been put to bed.”