BLACKBURN Hawks moved one step closer to the first major trophy in their 22-year history after beating Whitley Warriors in their semi-final play-off.

Hawks booked their place in the English National Ice Hockey League North One final after defeating rivals Whitley 11-7 on aggregate.

The East Lancashire aces got off to the best possible start in their two-legged affair with a 5-3 first leg victory at a packed Blackburn Arena on Saturday evening.

At one point, Hawks were enjoying a 5-1 lead until their north east visitors pulled two goals back during the second period.

It all meant a tense second leg back at Whitley Bay last night.

But Hawks overcame any nerves by coming out on top again, winning 6-4.

They got off to a 2-0 start in the first period with goals from Tom King and Ric Hughes.

Sami Narkia added a third for Hawks at the beginning of the second period, before Whitley mounted a comeback.

However, Hawks always maintained a slender advantage over their hosts.

Hawks will take on either Billingham Stars or Telford Titans in the final.

Their semi-final is being played next weekend, with Telford at home on Saturday, with the return leg at Billingham 24 hours later.

Hawks finished third overall in the league table.