The Sens first home game of the season, after a 23-1 win at Deeside and 3-2 Overtime loss in Altrincham, came against a new Blackburn team replacing last season’s title winning Eagles and a host of new players.
Having lost their opening 2 games, the Sens did not know exactly what to expect and had to make sure that they were on top of their game from the off to try and take the win. A full line-up took to the ice and the Sens dominated proceedings from the off with Blackburn netminder Daniel Morris making some good saves in the opening 5 minutes. An early penalty for too many men on the ice gave the Hawks an early chance to show their stuff, but it was the Sens who put more pressure on in the offensive end creating some good chances on the penalty kill. Then on 5:21 a long stretch pass made it through the whole Sens team to Carl Price who slotted the breakaway past Mark Hartley for the Hawks to take a 1-0 lead and against the tide. This seemed to spur the Sens on and it only took just over a minute for a response when a short-handed shot from Tom Proctor took a deflection and went in to tie the game 1-1. The Sens continued to pile on the pressure and it finally showed after 13 minutes when Tom Proctor scored his second of the night with a nice finish. One more goal followed, Elliott Knell putting the puck through the legs of the Hawks netminder to make it 3-1 at the end of the first period and the Sens not really getting out of first gear.
A few words of encouragement were had during the break, with the Sens wanting to up the tempo and take advantage of their domination. A few early penalties in the second were called on the Sens, but the Hawks powerplay was no match for the penalty killing of the Sens, who scored two more short-handed goals in just over 30 seconds, a hat-trick goal for Tom Proctor and another from Nathan Britton. More nice play saw Jordon ‘Ricky’ Martin score his second Sens goal in 5 seasons with a well-placed shot in the bottom corner and a further goal from Nathan Britton, his second of the night. A change of netminder in the Sens net at the half-way stage had Evan Coles replace Mark Hartley to gain some ice time and experience in the senior league. Shots on goal for the second period were 24-3 in favour of the Sens which showed just how the game was going, but to their credit the Hawks never gave up.
The third started mainly the same way, a few early penalties putting the Sens short-handed, Tom Proctor sliding around the Hawks denfenders like a snake before putting a backhand top-shelf for the goal of the game – his fourth, and third short-handed goal of the night. Another penalty gave the Hawks a 5-on-3 and a chance to test Evan in the Sens net, but Lewis Otley managed to power his way to the net and score. The game was now well out of sight, but the Sens continued to play some good passing hockey; nobody going it alone and the team gelling nicely, and 5 goals rounded off last 10 minutes or so from Paul Lofthouse, Tom Humphries, John-Henry Walker, Elliott Knell and Shaun Wild to make the final score 14-1.
The scoreline could have been more, with total shots being 61-12, but Daniel Morris played much better than the stats gave him credit for making some solid saves throughout the game. Overall a good win, the only disappointment not being able to keep a clean sheet and the number of penalties taken in such a game; however, positives being the good team play, passing, and chances that were put away. It is not always to keep your heads in games that are one-way traffic, but credit where it’s due and the Sens didn’t let it slip and take confidence going into the game away at Telford.
SOG Sens – Mark Hartley – 8/1 87.50%. Evan Coles 4/0 100%.
Hawks – Daniel Morris 61/14 77.05%
Tom Proctor – 4+1 Elliott Knell – 2+2 Nathan Britton 2+1 Tom Humphries – 1+2
Lewis Otley, John-Henry Walker – 1+1 Paul Lofthouse, Shaun Wild, Jordon Martin 1+0
George Crawshaw, Joel Aheran 0+3 Steve Weeks 0+2 Tyler Nixon 0+1
MOTM – Paul Lofthouse
Sens Shield – John-Henry Walker