BLACKBURN HAWKS 2-4 ALTRINCHAM ACES 13 OCTOBER 2002
Aces travelled to Blackburn for a League game, still needing a first League win of the season. Arran Richardson was back in the team after suspension.
Aces started the better and took the lead from an unexpected source. Steve Daly took the puck in and passed to junior Dave Meikle who showed confidence in beating Colin Downie into the top right corner. The flow of play was disrupted by penalties but Aces' superiority told again with Greg Allen sliding the puck inside a post from the right. Phil Verstappen made a crunch save from out in mid ice before we fell foul of the referee yet again. The play had stopped, Aces changing lines when a bit of pushing and shoving broke out. Out of all this, the referee fingered Russ Richardson for leaving the bench to join in and Russ disappeared with 2+2+Game (now ejected four times in four games by Mr Evans including Basingstoke (H) when Russ was spectating). Nothing much had happened and it was hard to see why such a literal interpretation of the rules was necessary - conspiracy/victimisation theories will abound.
Hawks came back into it in the second period with Bobby Haig scoring with a deflected shot. Greg Allen beat Downie but his shot was saved by a defenceman on the line. Blackburn were more of a threat as Aces tired from the loss of Russ and being shorthanded and the game had got quite niggly. As time was running down in the period, Greg Allen had words with Bobby Haig at the side of a face off, Haig jabbed his stick at Greg who dodged, sailed up the ice with Haig lumbering in his wake, to be in plenty of space to slot home Aces' third from Billy Price's pass. Presumably, what Bobby thought of it was unprintable or untranslatable but Greg enjoyed it.
The third period started end to end. Craig Sharman (thank goodness the Hawks persuaded him to leave the Aces) missed from in front before a long range effort from Jason Hewitt pinged off the cross bar. Hawks were again back in it as Gordon Whyte sent a rocket from the point past Phil Verstappen. Straight from the restart though, Aces showed their character and went on the attack. Greg Allen missed but Jason Hewitt fed Billy Price to restore our two goal lead. Penalties on Simon Mills and, soon after, Greg Allen saw Aces facing 1m 45s of 3 on 5 after 53 minutes but they held on with Phil Verstappen making three crucial close saves in rapid succession. Hawks failure to break through seemed to finish them, Downie needed to make four or five saves one on one with Phil needing to grab a puck deflected off Kevin Cassidy's skate.
This time, the Aces were ready for Blackburn, the Hawks probably not. Who had eaten all the burgers at the local Burger King? Man of the Match was Billy Price but everyone from the Aces would have given it to Phil Verstappen who turned in a confident performance that showed his game has improved another level.
0-1 04.04 Meikle from Daly
0-2 16.32 Allen from Price and Hewitt
1-2 25.59 Haig from Black and Sharman
1-3 39.56 Allen from Hewitt and Cassidy PPG
2-3 47.07 Whyte from Haig and Black PPG
2-4 47.27 Price from Hewitt and Allen
Kevin Cassidy 0+1, Greg
Allen 2+1, Russ Richardson, Steve Michie, Brian Worrall,
Jason Hewitt 0+3, Simon Mills, Arran Richardson, Dave Meikle 1+0, Stephen Elliott,
Billy Price 1+1 (MoM), Luke Stretton, Steve Daly 0+1, Phil Keelan
Phil Verstappen (34s, 2g, 94.12%), Danny Higgin
SOG 34-37 Pens 20-44