Hull Seahawks 6-3 Bees IHC
Hull ice hockey has always paid tribute to the sacrifices of the armed forces but Saturday’s Remembrance was as special as any can recall. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the armed forces, SAFA, Hull for Heroes and British Legion this was a ceremony to be proud of.
The Bees (formerly Bracknell Bees) versus the Seahawks conjures up romantic images for the older Hull fans who often witnessed ice hockey at its finest whenever these teams met; this fixture would not have disappointed them or any fan. On an evening dedicated to Remembrance, this was a game more attuned to a firecracker bonfire night. It certainly started with a ‘bang’ when the Bees found the net within 11 seconds of the face-off.
Even with the return of Bobby Streetly and Lee Pollitt, this remained a much-depleted Hull side struggling with a debilitating injury crisis and enforced absences through suspension and other player commitments. Home fans fears of a rout soon became reality when the Bees added a second in quick time.
Despite a short bench and being stunned by the Bees excellent start, Hull rallied and regained their composure to hold the score going into the first interval. At the beginning of the second period, the Seahawks came out of the blocks flying. Led by the outstanding Declan Balmer, Hull opened their scoring with a long-range effort from the D-man. He added a second to level the game around 20 seconds later and inspired belief on the Seahawks bench. James Archer then latched onto a lovely saucer pass from Sam Towner to score the go-ahead goal for Hull.
With the score at 3-2 after the second period, the Seahawks were in unfamiliar territory having had few chances in the season so far to defend a lead but they squandered their advantage early in the third period when the Bees restored parity. Nevertheless, this was a more resilient Hull side to the one of late and they replied with two quick goals. At 5-3, the Bees gambled and withdrew their netminder Goss for an extra skater as they looked to reduce the score to one. It almost proved to be a good call when they scrambled around and crashed the Hull net but as happens so often when teams gamble like this, a loose puck was collected and hit off the boards down the ice towards the empty net by the returning Seahawk, Bobby Streetly.
This was the Seahawks first-ever home victory and it showed in the after-match celebrations as the team collected the Remembrance Trophy. In a performance marked by many outstanding performances, particularly with a special mention for netminder McLaughlin, the recipient of the man-of-the-match award rightfully went to Declan Balmer who was a class above on the night.