Stars In Seventh Heaven
It had been seven games since the Oxford City Stars last won, but there was no holding them back as they defeated their hosts 7-0 in what was an all-round stunning performance. Netminder Tom Annetts took the shutout with a 32 save game but this game was not just about a good performance from Annetts, it was built on hard work all over the ice as the Stars dominated the Redhawks.
The Stars started the first period brightly with first the impressive Jesse Lye going close in the opening minute. Alan Green then went close after being set up by former Redhawk Dominic Hopkins. Stars were able to strengthen their grip on the game as Redhawks Liam Rasmussen sat a two-minute penalty for High Sticking. Soon after his return to the game Stars opened their account when Jaroslav Cesky rounded the defence, drew Streatham’s netminder Matt Colclough and finished in style. Streatham responded to the goal and George Norcliffe was unlucky to see his effort beat Annetts only for the puck to hit the goal post. Stars had a great chance in the 13th minute to extend their lead when a Ben Paynter shot was half saved by Colclough, the puck spilling from the netminders grasp it started to trickle towards the goal line only for a covering defenceman to come to his teams rescue. Stars had further chances in the period with the best falling to Green, after good work by Cesky. 0-1 after 20 minutes.
The second period started in the same vein as the first with Brendan Baird finding Cesky only for his shot to be saved. The period was only two minutes old when the visitors doubled their lead, Darren Elliott connecting with a Lye cross shot. Once again Streatham responded and it was Annetts in action to save from Adam Wood. Just before the half way mark of the game, Stars scored for the third time when Joe Oliver produced one of his trademark defence splitting passes to find Cesky, a deft touch from him set up Paynter who fired home. Stars were dominating the game and it was not a surprise when Stars added a fourth when Hopkins scored following a shot from Elliott that rebounded from Colclough. Twenty-one seconds later and the scoreboard moved on as Joe Edwards fired home from the narrowest of angle, with the assist going to Lye once again. The home team and fans were stunned and called a time out to try and regroup. A two-minute minor penalty on the Redhawks for having too many players on the ice hindered their cause. Stars Hallam Wilson then took a minor penalty when he considered he had been fouled, but referee Jurijs Solovjovs did not agree. As Wilson returned to the game, the puck was played to him as he hit the ice from the penalty box. Colclough saved his first effort, but he was able to score at the second attempt. 0-6 after 40 minutes.
The third period started as the previous two had with Stars on the attack. Cesky went close before Joe Edwards picked up the puck and skated the length of the ice, outpacing the defence, feinted one way and planted the puck past Colclough to give the Stars a 7-0 lead. Stars were now playing a containing game with Annetts making a number of very solid saves. Streatham appeared to have no plan to break down the defence and as they pushed forward it left space for the speedy Stars forwards who were still looking threatening, with both Cesky and Green going close. The hosts resorted to long distance shots but nothing was going past Annetts as he recorded a 32 shot shut out to pick up the Man of the Match beers. Final score 0-7.