Hull Pirates' Jason Hewitt hits rivals for six while Sheffield Steeldogs and Leeds Chiefs draw blank

LEADING THE WAY: Hull Pirates' player-coach Jason Hewitt scored two hat-tricks at the weekend as his team enjoyed a maximum four-point return. Picture courtesy of Tony Sargent.
LEADING THE WAY: Hull Pirates' player-coach Jason Hewitt scored two hat-tricks at the weekend as his team enjoyed a maximum four-point return. Picture courtesy of Tony Sargent.
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IF ever a player-coach embodied true leadership, Jason Hewitt showed that in abundance at the weekend.

Two games, two hat-tricks. More importantly - four points.

TOUGH TIME: Sheffield Steeldogs' player-coach Ben Morgan got on the scoresheet in Peterborough, but his team drew a blank after a weekend which brought two defeats. Picture courtesy of Cerys Molloy.

TOUGH TIME: Sheffield Steeldogs' player-coach Ben Morgan got on the scoresheet in Peterborough, but his team drew a blank after a weekend which brought two defeats. Picture courtesy of Cerys Molloy.

Victories by the same 6-4 margin over, first, an ailing Leeds Chiefs, and then at home to Basingstoke Bison, were enough to put Hewitt's Hull Pirates back up to fourth place after the weekend, with time on their side in the quest to land the first-ever NIHL National regular season league title.

On both nights, Hewitt proved to be the go-to guy, as he so often has been during his tenure.

By contrast, Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Steeldogs emerged from the weekend empty-handed after they suffered two road defeats, first a 7-3 reverse at Swindon Wildcats followed by a 4-1 loss at third-placed Peterborough Phantoms.

Leeds also came away with nothing as their 'home' game against Hull was their only action over the weekend and they remain adrift at the bottom of the standings, six points away from a playoff spot.

Hull had to do it the hard way in Blackburn, coming from 4-2 behind with the game-winning goal from peter Fabous coming inside the final two minutes.

Hewitt bagged his first of the weekend when cancelling out former Pirates' forward James Archer's second-minute opener for the Chiefs, his former boss then giving the visitors the lead early in the second.

But three unanswered goals from Archer, Richard Bentham and Ethan Hehir put the 'hosts' seemingly in control, until Lee Bonner's strike 49 seconds before the buzzer threw Hull a lifeline.

Hewitt's hat-trick strike then levelled matters early in the third, leaving Fabus to strike the killer blow with David Norris adding insult to injury with an empty-netter.

Sunday was slightly more straighforward affair for the Pirates, with three goals in the space of a remarkable 43 seconds given them an advantage they never let go of.

Bobby Chamberlain struck first at 12.46, adding a second 27 seconds later with with Bonner making it 3-0 at 13.29.

A shell-shocked Basingstoke got on the board two minutes later through Michal Klejna, although Hewitt's first of the night restored the three-goal cushion in the 21st minute.

Hallam Wilson hit back quickly for the visitors, but again - at 28.49 - Hewitt was on hand to keep his side three goals to the good, even though the hosts were pegged back again when Alexander Sampford made it 5-3 at 37.26.

Hewitt made it six for the weekend early in the third, but there was to be no further response from Basingstoke.

Sheffield were always chasing the game in Swindon on Saturday, even though they went blow-for-blow early on and were tied at 2-2 up until just after the halfway mark through strikesd from Kieran Brown and Vladimir Luka.

But two goals in three minutes from the Wildcats' Toms Rutkis and Tyler Vankleef proved pivotal, the hosts stretching their lead further in the 47th and 48th minutes with shorthanded efforts from Floyd Taylor and former Steeldogs' forward Edgars Bebris.

Alex Graham struck on the power play at 51.44, but the leaders were to have the final say through Tomasz Malasinski just 32 seconds later.

In Peterborough, the game was effectively done and dusted by the end of the first 20, when Slava Koulikov's team raced into a 4-0 lead through a Martins Susters hat-trick and a Nathan Pollard marker.

Steeldogs did get on the board through player-coach Ben Morgan in the 38th minute, but that was as close as they got, leaving the visitors in sixth place in the standings.