Nottingham Lions 0 Blackburn Hawks 3

The Nottingham Lions were shut out at home for the first time this season as they went down by three goals to the Blackburn Hawks on Sunday evening.

The biggest crowd of the season at the National Ice Centre were hoping for a night of entertaining hockey, with the Lions looking for points to avoid a potential relegation play-off and the Hawks still within touching distance of first placed Billingham Stars.

Alas, the end-to-end, free-flowing play expected, never materialised as Referee, Rick Adams took centre stage by dishing out a total of 134 penalty minutes between the two sides, making 5-on-5 hockey something of rarity over the sixty minutes.

A scoreless first period saw Nottingham out-shoot Blackburn, 17 to 12, but they couldn’t find a way past Hawks goalie Danny Brittle, who was in fine form.

From thereon in, it was penalties and power plays that decided the outcome of the game, as a great many of Referee, Adams’ calls left both benches scratching their heads in bewilderment and leaving the players on the ice, massively frustrated.

Richard Hughes broke the deadlock with a penalty shot goal just before the half hour, despite Lions protests that Hughes was not in full control of the puck when he was brought down on his way to goal.

Chris Arnone got Blackburn’s second on the power play, two minutes later.

As play continued, numerous scuffles broke out in front of both creases resulting in a string of roughing penalties for both sides, and culminated in Hawks’ Jordan Bannon being thrown out of the game for abuse of an official with three minutes to go in the second and Lions’ Jonny Bell being ejected for cross-checking with nine minutes of the game remaining.

Hawks player-coach Jared Owen effectively ended the game as a contest with five minutes left on the clock, scoring Blackburn’s third on another power play.

The Lions now have just one more game remaining to pick up points to potentially lift them out of the relegation play-off place in ENL Divsion 1 North. Rivals, Coventry have two games left and Matt Bradbury’s men will be hoping that Blackburn can claim the two points at the Skydome next Saturday before retuning to the NIC on Sunday (18th March – 7.15pm) for a second game against the Lions in eight days.

Don’t forget, you can watch post-game interviews with Lions’ Matt Bradbury and Alan Levers as well as Blackburn’s Jared Owen and Danny Brittle on LionsTV – our official online TV channel.

Game Stats:

Period Scores: 1st 0-0, 2nd 0-2, 3rd 0-1.

Shots: 1st 17-12, 2nd 15-13, 3rd 9-15. Total 42-40.

Penalty Mins: 1st 2-16, 2nd 16-37, 3rd 59-4. Total 77-57.

Lions MOTM: Alan Levers.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012.