London Ice Hockey - Streatham Ice Hockey News 2014 | Streatham Ice Hockey -
Mar 17, 2018

Late resilience gives Hawks a chance

Streatham went down 2-0 in the Play-Off Quarter Final first leg against Swindon Wildcats at Streatham Arena. It was a match up that the Streatham coaching team had identified as one to avoid in the final weeks of the regular season, but a failure to secure a 4th or 5th place finish in the league put the Londoners firmly in the firing line of the recently crowned Autumn Cup champions.

With Adam Wood still injured and Brandon Miles suspended, the RedHawks skated out otherwise unchanged in front of a decent crowd boosted by a larger than usual contingent from Wiltshire.

The Cats size and power told from the start as they took control of the game, with Matt Colclough called into action a number of times early on in the home goal. Streatham recovered to carve out a few chances of their own but the game didn’t really gain any momentum for either side. With four minutes remaining, a delayed call on Michael Farn gave Swindon an extra man and a point shot from Neil Liddiard was tipped past Colclough by Aaron Nell to give the Cats the lead.

Streatham immediately hit back, with Renny Marr forced to make good saves from Alex Sampford and then Aidan Doughty.

The second period started badly as Streatham lost their focus and allowed Swindon to break on a 4 on 1 with just three minutes gone, and Nell made no mistake with the finish as Max Birbraer found him at the far post.

The home crowd ratcheted up the noise to get the team going again, and they responded with Ranson and Siagris in particular working hard to make things happen, the latter slippery in attack and disciplined with his back-checking. In truth though, the visitors looked comfortable rubbing out the Streatham players on the boards and forcing turnovers with smart fore-checking, using their size and speed to make life difficult for the hosts. The Wildcats also had some golden opportunities but Colclough stood firm denying Jan Kostal and Edgars Bebris.

Streatham had struggled to gain a foothold in the first two periods and needed a big third to give them some hope for the 2nd leg. A third goal against on the night would have been a hammer blow, but whatever was said in the interval certainly worked as the RedHawks seemed to find belief that had been lacking previously.

The Streatham crowd responded as their team peppered Marr, with Farn, Watt and Hayes all coming close but somehow the Swindon goal survived. With all the pressure at the other end, the Wildcats had some excellent chances of their own, as Nell struck the post from a couple of yards out and Bebris hit the bar with a piece of individual skill. Streatham held the puck in the Swindon zone far better and broke out more composed, showing the type of hockey that saw them beat Swidnon on home ice earlier in the year.

The final minutes ticked down with more Streatham pressure, but they were unable to find a way past Marr who was by now well on his way to what would turn out to be a 30 shot shut out.

The team circled the arena to take the applause from the home support knowing that they had showed enough in the final twenty minutes to give them a fighting chance of upsetting the Cats in their own barn in the second leg. The worst lead in hockey is a two goal lead, so the saying goes. Lets hope it rings true tomorrow.

Man of the match – Andreas Siagris