Warriors suffer road defeat against title chasing Blackburn

Whitley Warriors' Martin Crammond challenges a Blackburn Hawks player for the puck. Picture by Colin Edwards

Whitley Warriors' Martin Crammond challenges a Blackburn Hawks player for the puck. Picture by Colin Edwards

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Whitley Warriors travelled to Lancashire to face the Blackburn Hawks on Sunday evening but came back defeat.

The North Tynesiders travelled with a strong roster of players as Christian Johnson was the only senior missing from the squad.

But they were without three of their promising under 18 forwards who were icing in a crucial age group game.

There was a slight delay to the face-off as officials were not happy with the goal nets, however, the problem was quickly rectified and once the action got under way Hawks quickly got into their stride and took the lead after only 48 seconds when Adam Brittle found the back of the net.

Blackburn continued to look dangerous and Jake Nurse made it 2-0 to the home side after eight minutes of action.

Shortly afterwards, Warriors got a power play opportunity when Blackburn’s Reece Cairney-Witter was given a two minute penalty for hooking.

And the visitors made their man advantage count as Harry Harley netted for Warriors on the power play after ten minutes.

Blackburn continued to test Whitley goaltender Richie Lawson on a regular basis throughout the remainder of the first session of play and Hawks made it 3-1 with 16 minutes on the clock when Nurse grabbed his second of the contest.

Hawks increased their lead even further just 56 seconds into the middle session when Brittle fired home his second of the night after some nice work from import forward Jon Adams.

Warriors were still battling away, though, and Daniel Murdy got a goal back after half an hour which saw Warriors 4-2 in arrears at the halfway stage of the game.

But the home side were now playing some eye catching, free flowing hockey, and Blackburn ‘D’ man Scott Robson scored on the power play which saw the Hawks hold a 5-2 lead after 40 minutes of play.

Warriors began the third period short handed as Paul Matthews and Callum Watson had picked up minor penalties towards the end of the second session.

Hawks made full use of their two-man advantage as Brittle lit the lamp for a third time after being set up by his player coach Jared Owen with a nicely taken power play marker.

Warriors continued to run into penalty trouble during the remainder of the contest and their penalty killing units worked tirelessly to limit Blackburn’s clear offensive chances with Warriors goaltender Lawson producing a number of impressive stops on the night.

However, Hawks netted their seventh goal of the game on 54 minutes and it was that man Brittle again who grabbed his fourth goal of the contest when he found the bottom corner of the net with a fine shot.

Warriors went on to test Blackburn net minder Danny Brittle on a few occasions during the final stages of the game, however, Hawks were able to keep Whitley at bay and claim a 7-2 success.

Whitley net minder Lawson was deservedly named man of the match for a terrific display in which he saved 52 of the 59 shots that came his way.

While Hawks hot-shot Adam Brittle was chosen as the home side’s most impressive player on the night.

Warriors are in action twice this coming weekend when on Saturday they face NIHL North champions Solway Sharks in Dumfries before taking on Sutton Sting on home ice on Sunday evening (5pm face-off) at Hillheads Ice Rink in Whitley Bay in a NIHL North Moralee Conference encounter.