THE Blackburn Hawks express is gathering momentum week-by-week, with two further victories keeping them in check with the teams at the top of the table.
Following a comprehensive 6-2 win away at play-off rivals Telford Titans on Saturday, in which Rick Hughes scored four, the ice hockey aces thrashed struggling Solihull Barons in front of their expectant home fans.
Third-placed Hawks have now won eight and drawn one of their last 10 games in all competitions and have closed the gap on Whitley Warriors and Billingham Stars, who suffered a surprise 4-2 loss at Trafford Metros.
Team boss Graham Lomax said: “It was an absolutely fantastic weekend overall. We couldn’t have wished for any more.
“We are in a good place at the moment.”
Hawks kicked things off with a well-deserved win at Telford, who had gone into the weekend one place and one point above them in the English National Ice Hockey League standings.
The visitors led 3-1 at the end of the first period and the scoreline was exactly double come the full-time whistle thanks to goals from Hughes (four), Tom King and the returning Ollie Lomax.
Lomax senior added: “The last time we played Telford, we went with a very short bench and we were in a very uneasy frame of mind in terms of playing at such an intimidating venue.
“This time, we had a lot more experience, a lot deeper bench and a lot more physicality about us. We dominated from start to finish and could have won by a lot more.
“As a unit, all the pieces in the jigsaw seem to be in the right place at the moment. Rick scored four goals, but I believe that David Meikle got five assists.
“It just shows the value of having players like David and Ollie back in the team and they are like two new signings for us.”
Hughes continued where he left off on Sunday, grabbing the only goal of the first period, as Hawks’ superb start to 2012 showed no signs of relenting.
After the interval, Meikle set up Jordan Bannon for Hawks’ second, before Brian Worrall rounded the netminder to add goal number three just past the midway point.
Following an unfortunate injury to Solihull’s Richard Slater in the final period, Hawks wrapped up the win. Five minutes from time, young Michael Alexander tapped home his first senior goal, before Sami Narkia completed the rout.
Lomax added: “We missed a lot of chances, including some very simple tap-ins, and I think 5-0 flattered them slightly.
“But we’re happy with the victory, happy with the points and happy with the overall work-rate of the team.
“We just have to keep going week-in week-out.
“We are the form team in the league at the moment and no-one will fancy playing us either home or away.
“The Arena is like a fortress for us at the minute and I’ll bet there was between 700-800 there to see us on Sunday night, which is great.”