NIHL South Round-up week 8

LONDON, UK – A place in the final of the South East Trophy was up for grabs and Thunder began to rumble for the first time.
 
Wightlink Coach Jeremy Cornish took the unusual step of using social media to try and plug gaps in his roster. The former Newcastle Viper star needs to bolster his squad after North East pair Dan Pye and Nathan Taylor were ruled out of action through injury.

Thunder 3 pointer (Jez Tibbetts)

Thunder 3 pointer (Jez Tibbetts)

 
Whilst obviously concerned about the depth of his team, Cornish was upbeat in his Coaches Corner on the Raiders Official website.
 
“I’m really pleased with Matty recently, he has really found his form the last couple weeks and without him we wouldn’t have got the win we did against Romford” said Cornish in reference to goalie Matt Colclough’s performances between the pipes.
 
“He looks confident in the net and with him leading from back there he gives us a chance to win every night. Jiri Hanzal has also settled in well and when he wants to step up and take charge he does that”
 
“As our first line center man, he has also lead the team out on the ice with his size and skill set. This week in training we are going to keep our focus on strong defensive play, we play in Romford this Sunday and a victory will secure us a spot in the Cup final in January”
 
“I like the competitive level in this group, most teams would just roll over and not worry about this cup, but our team wants to win and I think that’s great”
 
“Also, in training I think we need to keep working on shooting the puck, I feel at times we are looking for the pretty play and I would rather see us shoot and battle for rebounds out front”
 
In Streatham, new boy Phil Manny spoke to the club’s official website in an in depth interview about his move to London.
 
“I have settled in really easily to be honest as I previously worked in the ‘Big Smoke’ when playing with Invicta, but everyone has been more than welcoming” said Manny, who last week managed to overturn the decision on the parking ticket he received from Lambeth council when he first moved to London, as reported in Pro Hockey News at the time.
 
“Brixton and its alley ways in particular have certainly been an eye opener compared to Cardiff”
 
“I enjoy playing both defence and as a forward so I basically play where ever the coach tells me to” Continued Manny when asked about his versatility.
Strawson wet over winning weekend

Strawson wet over winning weekend

 
“Dropping the gloves was an interesting one as Ant Lennon is a mate of mine but the game was getting a little chippy and that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes”
 
“It was my first scrap since having two fairly major operations on my wrist last season so it was good to get it out of the way”
 
Invicta Coach Kevin Parrish fired another broadside at his squad despite picking up a much needed home win against Streatham the previous weekend. Sadly for Mo’s fans this was then followed up by a heavy defeat in Chelmsford the following night.
 
“We’re running out of time and it needs to happen now. If it doesn’t, then unfortunately changes will need to be made” said Parrish in an interview with Kent Online.
 
“We can’t carry on waiting for things to get better. It has to get better this weekend and I’ve told them all. If they weren’t listening then, they will know when they read this”
 
“There are guys waiting on the sidelines to come in and maybe a couple of new faces will shake things up. I have been patient and don’t sign a team to sack a team. I don’t like making changes during the season because I want the players to bond”
 
In the absence of any bruises this week it has been replaced by clobber of the week, to which the first winner is Bracknell goalie Chris Douglas, The former Swindon and Oxford stopper was the most stylish man in Bracknell Ice Rink Car park this weekend with a delightful blue shell suit lighting up the dreary surroundings of ‘Britain’s first Olympic Sized Ice Rink’ – so the sign outside says, before the stattos email in.
Cole impresses (Paul Shergold)

Cole impresses (Paul Shergold)

 
Hockey players are an odd bunch when it comes to fashion as has been discussed in this column many times before. One of the best garments seen in Brixton this year was worn by our prospective Japanese import who trialled during the summer.
 
One minute he was sat in civvies and then a few seconds later he appeared in what can best be described as a foil suit (A bit like those silver capes marathon runners get when they finish a race).
 
Sadly he wasn’t able to sign with us and therefore the attention turned to the Northerner in the locker room and the snazzy Londoners have been on his case all season.
 
Talking of snazzy dressers a number of Invicta fans speculated on the clubs internet forum as to who the man was stood on their bench whose ‘head looks like it is on upside down’ – a comment that would tickle the most hardened hockey observer.
 
I can confirm that the man with the beard and bald head is in fact former Haringey and Slough defenseman Mark Saunders. I believe he is a qualified level 2 coach so gives the bench some flexibility, however he has yet to ice in a playing capacity for the Mo’s.
Douglas in royal blue

Douglas in royal blue

 
Saunders played at Haringey Greyhounds the same time as me and has some of the shiniest shoes seen since Michael Jackson was trotting the earth, so I do question how he feels walking through the wet rubber tiles at the Silverblades rink each week.
 
Finally a big mention for Pro Hockey News editor and Chelmsford fan, ‘not so big’ Pete Lewis, who showed off his new svelte like figure on his wedding day last week. Congratulations from everyone on the team Pete.    
 
 
Saturday
 
Chelmsford Chieftains fans were probably expecting an avalanche of goals as bottom side Solent & Gosport Devils made the trip to Essex.
 
They were mistaken however as the resilient Devils were narrowly beaten 3-2 by a home side who found it difficult to get past in form goalie Chico Cole.
 
The goalscorers for the victorious Chieftains were Gary Clarke, Darren Brown and Danny Hammond. For the Devils goals came from Kev Tanner and Mitchell Murray.
 
Bracknell Hornets continued their good home form with a 3-2 win over Streatham Redskins. In truth it was a scrappy game with both sides failing to find any real flow for decent spells. The two goalies were probably the stand out performers with Will Sanderson in the Streatham net and Adam Marashi in the Bracknell goal both on good form.
 
A rocket shot from Hornet’s Player Assistant Coach Danny Hughes proved the difference between the two sides with Tom Fisher and Carl Thompson getting the other goals.
 
For Streatham Adam Mahoney and Tomas Valko got a goal each.
 
It was our first game with a four man system and I didn’t really notice any difference. The Hornets are not really a dirty team so the chances of incidents happening behind the play were minimal and obviously the larger ice pad makes crowding less of an issue.
Romford score but not enough

Romford score but not enough

 
There was a time a few years ago when a trip to Oxford would give Invicta something to fear but with the City Stars now in the league below the Dynamos were probably less concerned as the headed to Oxpens Road this time.
 
Dynamos import Justin Noble had the biggest smile at the end of the evening as his four goals helped the Mo’s to an 11-2 win. Invicta’s other scorers were Nathaniel Rose, Grant Baxter, Dan Fudger, Arran Strawson, Peter Vaisanen, Callum Best and Joe Bliss.
 
Scorers for Oxford were Michael Raff and Josh Oliver.
 
The final game of the day saw MK Thunder stun Cardiff in Wales by skating off with a 4-4 tie despite missing Dwayne Newman from the roster. The Thunder had been leading at the end of the second period but wil no doubt be delighted with a point in a rink they don’t traditionally do well in.
 
Steve Osman hit a hat trick for the Devils with Jordan Powell getting the other. Connor Goode hit a brace for the Thunder and Maxims Petruks and Mike Whillock got the others.
 
Cardiff’s night got worse as Ross Wilkinson was given a match penalty for kneeing with only four minutes remaining in the game.
   
 
Sunday
 
Streatham travelled to MK Thunder hoping to salvage the weekend with a much needed two points however it was the home side that snatched a 6-4 win.
 
A string of penalties did not help our cause (Streatham’s) and let’s just say that there were a few hotly disputed from our side, but credit to MK they punished us on the powerplay.
 
Streatham’s goals came from Tomas Valko, Dom Hopkins, Russ Stevens and Jakub Klima. MK’s goals came from Paul Gore, Mike Whillock, Jamie Randall, Maksims Petruks, Greg Randall and Connor Goode.
 
The normally placid pair of Dom Hopkins and Joe Johnston both got misconduct penalties with the latter getting an early shower late on in the game after disputing a controversial sixth goal by the Thunder. Did it cross the line or did it bounce off the underside of the bar, who knows.
Boom Boom Hughes (Kevin Slyfield)

Boom Boom Hughes (Kevin Slyfield)

 
What is certain however is that MK will be delighted with their three point weekend and no one more so than 16 year old goalie Jordan Hedley who got a man of the match award in Cardiff and didn’t look too shabby against us either.
 
A nice cold shower for the whole team thanks to Planet Ice Milton Keynes rounded off a frustrating weekend for Streatham, but we will bounce back for sure.
 
Invicta fans celebrated a second win in as many days as they beat Chelmsford in the South East Trophy. Technically the game was meaningless as Chelmsford have already qualified for the final but with pride at stake the Mo’s skated out a 4-3 win thanks to a brace for Anthony Leone and a lone goal each for Andy Smith and Joe Bliss.
 
For Chelmsford it was Cameron Bartlett, Darren Brown and Danny Hammond on target.
Bracknell Hornets made a rare trip to Bretton Way to take on a Peterborough Islanders side who now compete in the league below despite being a solid side at this level not so many years ago.
 
A 7-4 road win for the Hornets rounded off a good weekend for Danny Hughes and the boys and their goals came from Peter Jasik with a brace and single goals from Nick Minhinnick, Tony Barclay, Ryan Webb, Ben Paynter and Hughes himself.
 
Romford Raiders managed a 4-2 win over Wightlink at Rom Valley Way however it was not enough to stop the island side booking a final date with Chelmsford on aggregate.
 
Shaun Yardley hit a brace for Romford with Danny Marshall and Billy Phillips scoring the others. Wightlink goals came from Jiri Hanzal and Jeremy Cornish.
 
So at the end of the weekend we have our first major final scheduled between Wightlink and Chelmsford, the fans of Bracknell, MK and Invicta will be happy and down in South London a certain team in red and white will be getting back on track in training this week.
 
 
Results
 
Saturday 20th October 2012
 
Bracknell Hornets 3-2 Streatham Redskins
Chelmsford Chieftains 3-2 Solent & Gosport Devils
Oxford City Stars 2-11 Invicta Dynamos (South East Trophy)
Cardiff Devils NL 4-4 MK Thunder
 
Sunday 21st October 2012
 
MK Thunder 6-4 Streatham Redskins
Peterborough Islanders 4-7 Bracknell Hornets (South East Trophy)
Invicta Dynamos 4-3 Chelmsford Chieftains (South East Trophy)
Romford Raiders 4-2 Wightlink Raiders (South East Trophy)
 
Contact the author david.carr@prohockeynews.com
 
or follow @carrsy2 on Twitter.

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