Blackburn Hawks consolidated their place in the English National Ice Hockey League play-off positions with a 3-1 win at home to Nottingham Lions.
Hawks were good value for the vital two points from the win which sees them climb to third in the table.
After a goalless first period, Jordan Bannon opened the scoring for the hosts on a powerplay. A face-off in the attacking zone saw Sam Dunford take possession of the puck and after rounding the back of the net, he picked out the advancing Bannon, who hit a fine first-time shot home.
Nottingham responded by upping the tempo and taking the game to the Hawks. Danny Brittle was called on to repel the Lions’ best efforts, making some breath-taking saves, before the visitors had a goal rightly ruled out on 33 minutes, as the frame of the goal had left its moorings before the puck had crossed the line.
Two minutes later, however, and Brittle was finally beaten. A short-handed breakaway left him exposed and a back-handed flick by Gareth O’Flaherty levelled the scores.
Lions were only level for a couple of minutes however, as Tom King registered his first of the evening. After winning an offensive face-off, the puck was moved around the zone by Aaron Davies and the returning Sami Narkia, who picked out King in space and the influential forward scored.
The third period promised to be a nervy one for the Hawks fans, as the visitors went in search of another equaliser. Several powerplays helped their cause considerably, but solid defending, combined with the irrepressible Brittle, kept them at bay.
With six minutes remaining, Hawks finally sealed the points, as Narkia picked out King with a long pass up centre ice and the free-scoring no. 19 lifted the puck high beyond the keeper.