Brave Redskins bow out

DSC_7055-2Streatham battled to a spirited 4-3 win over the Wightlink Raiders in Brixton, but were eliminated from the Play Offs at the quarter final stage after going down 10-7 on aggregate thanks to a 7-3 loss on the island the evening before.

The South Londoners travelled to the Isle of Wight on Saturday knowing that they would have to keep the score close to give themselves any chance against a quality Wightlink side that finished runners-up in the league this year.

Wightlink were good for the 7-3 scoreline thanks to Nathan Taylor scoring two with James Smith, Jiri Hanzal, Richard Facey, Craig Tribe and Robbie Brown also on target.

Streatham’s goals came from Michal Oravec with two to his name and a lone goal from Russ Stevens.

On Sunday Streatham skated out in front of a noisy Brixton crowd and really took the game to the Raiders from the opening face off. A big hit from Dom Hopkins in his first shift and then a fantastic close range glove save by goalie Will Sanderson from Richard Facey gave the  fans an early boost.

A penalty on Russ Stevens for charging gave the visitors time to settle on the powerplay, however a defensive error allowed Jakub Klima to pick up the puck on the Streatham blue line and skate the full length of the ice, before firing the puck into the top corner of the net.

This opening goal proved the catalyst for a Streatham siege to the Wightlink goal with the normally sturdy Raiders defence looking a little shaky.

DSC_7416-2Wightlink levelled with eleven minutes played as Jeremy Cornish was given space to fire at goal from the top of the circle and Craig Tribe managed to tip the puck through Will Sandersons legs under pressure.

This setback did not deter the home side and they were in front again just three minutes later. The third line combining like a top line with a sweet passing move that saw Evander Grinnell finish a precision pass from Liam Rasmussen in front of net.

With one minute remaining in the period Streatham scored a vital third goal as Colclough was finally beaten following a long scramble in front of goal, thanks to Captain Joe Johnston firing home from an acute angle with bodies flying all over the place.

Streatham needed to start the second period strongly but they were hit by another sucker punch as James Smith wriggled free from a face off unmarked and then made no mistake from a Jeremy Cornish pass.

Wightlink began to exert some pressure of their own as Jiri Hanzal and Taylor both had good chances to score but Sanderson was on hand to deny them both.

Streatham finally managed to break free, and it was Oravec again who skated hard to intercept a stray pass before firing low past the stranded Colclough to make it 4-2 to Streatham.

The third period was all set up for a grandstand finish, however the well drilled Raiders made sure they had plenty of bodies back in defence and Streatham’s exertions began to show as the tempo dropped.

DSC_7028-2Streatham had given everything by this point and neither side managed to get any real flowing hockey played until Wightlink sealed the result with a minute to go.

Alex Murray pouncing on a Redskins mistake before feeding the puck to Robbie Brown on the left wing, and the Northern Irish player took a quick snapshot that flew into the top corner of the net to put the nail in the Redskins coffin for the 2012/13 season.

An aggregate 10-7 loss means that Wightlink now play Romford in the semi finals whilst Streatham are left to reflect on what might have been.

The fans gave the team a rapturous ovation at the end as the squad circled the ice for the last time of the season, with NIHL South Player of the Year Klima, looking on as the noisy drummers and their choir sang his name in respect for his efforts this season.

 

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