The BCD Solway Sharks were on NIHL National Cup duty on Sunday night with a short trip down to Blackburn to face the Hawks but, despite taking a lead into the third quarter, were hit with three late goals to loose four-two.
In the first period there was little to separate the two teams with Solway slightly edging the scales on territory and possession and they finally they got their break when Daniel Abercrombie (18:21) won the race to collect a Stevie Moore pass and calmly slot the puck past Niks Trapans from close range. Before the end of the period the Hawks did have the puck in the net courtesy of James Neil but luckily for the Sharks the linesman was already signalling offside well before it crossed the line.
After a slow start Sharks doubled their advantage eight minutes into the second period when Scott Henderson broke at speed along the right-hand boards. The Solway youngster had the time and presence of mind to look up and see Iain Bowie (27:53) moving into the slot. The pass was inch perfect past a diving defender and into the path of Bowie who fired home past Trapans with surgical precision.
However, the Sharks supporters didn’t have long to celebrate as the home side responded almost immediately when Jozef Istocy (28:23) forced the puck home from close range in a goalmouth scramble. For the remainder of the session both teams prodded and poked hoping to find a hole in the oppositions defence but to no avail and the scorers were not to be troubled further.
In the final period Calum Hepburn made several good saves to maintain Solway’s lead but as an attacking force they looked spent and it was always going to be a difficult job to keep the back door closed for a full twenty minutes. So it proved as Blackburn ran in three unanswered goals before the final buzzer sounded.
With a little more than seven minutes remaining Aaron Davies (52:39) found himself in the right place at the right time to fire home from close range after a spell of Blackburn pressure. A little over a minute later a James Neil shot flew wide of the Sharks goal but cannoned off the back boards and back into play on the other side of the net where James Royds (53:50) was waiting to prod it home.
The final nail in the Solway coffin was hammered home ninety seconds later when Lewis Baldwin (55:37) ventured forward from his defensive duties to slot the puck home from close range after Calum Hepburn had blocked an Aaron Davies shot to give a final scoreline of four-two to the home side.
The Man of the Match Awards were presented to Connor Henderson for the Sharks and Matt Viney for the Hawks.