AFTER the heartache of a last-gasp defeat at Solway Sharks on Saturday, Blackburn Hawks finally produced the performance player/coach James Neil demanded against Nottingham Lions as they eased to an 8-1 victory on Sunday.

Emotions could not have been any different after both games, the Hawks throwing away a 6-3 lead against title-chasing Sharks on Saturday in the dying seconds before producing a classy display to see off the rock-bottom Lions.

On Saturday, the Hawks were on course for their best result of the season as they took the game to the Sharks on their own Dumfries rink.

The Hawks started like they meant business and James Riddoch opened the scoring inside five minutes. The Sharks hit back almost immediately though with a goal of their own from Peter Gapa.

The quarter closed with a glut of goals, Gapa’s second putting the home side ahead before Neil bagged a brace and the Hawks led 3-2 at the buzzer.

Sean Jones extended that lead early in the second half, but the Sharks, taking the advantage of a power play, cut the gap to a single goal through Stuart Kerr.

But just as they did in the first period, the Hawks finished strongly and goals from import Petr Valusiak and captain James Royds put them 6-3 ahead.

However, the Sharks took control of the final quarter as the Hawks, with five fewer outskaters than their hosts, began to tire.

With four minutes remaining, the Sharks drew level thanks to goals rom Kyle Horne, Scott Henderson, and Gapa. The Hawks clung on but with just 27 seconds left the Scottish outfit grabbed a winner through Iain Bowie.

Sunday saw the Lions arrive in Blackburn.

The Hawks have won all three previous Moralee North One encounters between the sides – the most recent being last weekend – but on each occasion the Blackburn side have had to bounce back from conceding two early goals, much to the frustration of coach Neil.

But it was a different story this time and an early power-play goal from James Royds – backed up by a second by Riddoch –set them on their way to victory.

The battling Lions denied the home side a clean sheet courtesy of Cameron Pywell who halved their lead late in the period

But the Hawks went from strength to strength in the second 20 minutes of play with a steady stream of goals.

Valusiak, Royds and Ethan Mayoh beat the last line of the Lions’ defence and went unanswered to give Hawks a four-goal lead going into the final period where they were hoping to emulate their solid controlling second-period performance to well earn the two points

The fine all-round team display continued for the Hawks in the third period as Lee Pollitt had top support to fire home a hat-trick of goals.

The Nottingham Lions never gave up and kept Hawks on their toes but the win and the two points saw them edge closer to the Billingham Stars in the table.

The Hawks have another double header this weekend – hosting Solihull Barons on Saturday before travelling to Whitley Warriors on Sunday.