LONDON, UK – Wightlink Raiders continue to impress at the top whilst neighbours Solent & Gosport struggle at the bottom. Elsewhere there were departures, plants, bruises and a special presentation.
Streatham were dealt a blow midweek when it was revealed that defenseman Luke Reynolds would be leaving the club due to personal reasons.
The former Basingstoke and Romford man has recently had a baby (well his wife has), and the 100 mile round trip to Brixton from his home has become a little too much for the man who is a scaffolder by trade.
Luke came down to training on Thursday and made a farewell speech in the changing room before practice and shook everybody’s hand before leaving into the freezing cold South London air.
Luke has joined a team near his home so I won’t spoil their press release by revealing the team in this column. On a lighter note the Redskins also had an exercise bike mysteriously turn up in our home locker room , perhaps someone is giving us a hint.
With the partners of NIHL players firing out babies left right and centre lately, the latest new addition to the ranks of ‘fathers’ was Wightlink Player Coach Jeremy Cornish, whose wife gave birth to a bouncing baby boy called Dougie.
On the other side of the water from the Isle of Wight, Solent and Gosport Devils manager Paul Fitzpatrick was contemplating his side’s poor start to the season with nine losses from as many games.
‘It’s a great accolade for the Devils to gain so much respect from the teams we have played to date,’ said Fitzpatrick, in an interview with Portsmouth.co.uk following the narrow 3-2 loss in Chelmsford.
‘And from the rest of the ice hockey world at how well we are doing. It’s also a fantastic achievement to have competed so strongly”
‘But it’s now time to turn these good performances into wins, no matter what”
Their opponents last weekend, the Chelmsford Chieftains have been stuttering of late and ahead of the weekend game with Milton Keynes Thunder, Player Coach Gary Clarke gave an analysis of the Solent score line.
“We made the league win on the Saturday very difficult for ourselves” explained Clarke in an interview with This is Total Essex.
“When you compare us man for man when we’re a much better team than Solent & Gosport but they came with a game plan and made life very difficult for us. On another night we could have scored another ten goals but I’m pleased with came away with the points”
One Chieftain who really didn’t enjoy last weekend was Mike McKay who wins this week’s bruise of the week with a cracker on the back of the leg thanks to a stray shot.
On a personal note I travelled to Belfast this week to present a signed jersey to Streatham Redskins sponsors Rockies bar. The bar, which must be one of the largest hockey themed establishments in Europe is run by former Redskin Jim Graves, who played for the club in the 1989/90 season.
Obviously there has been debate about the size of the Rockies logo on our jerseys but personally I like them. One thing any Streatham player will tell you is that our jerseys are fantastic not only in the way they look but also the quality which is NHL standard.
Jim is unlikely to get much financial recuperation out of sponsoring his old team (given that the bar is nowhere near London) so it is pretty much a gesture of goodwill on his behalf. Aside from the many signed jerseys and hockey photos in the bar the highlight for me was the resident dog Patch who follows Jim wherever he goes.
Every bar should have a resident dog in my opinion and it was a good day all round in the Northern Irish capital.
In Kent, the sun was suddenly shining again on the Silverblades rink as Invicta Dynamos and their fans reflected on a double winning weekend over Oxford and more importantly Chelmsford.
“It was nice to get a reaction” admitted Coach Kev Parrish in an interview with the Medway Messenger.
“I don’t want to be shouting and screaming every weekend and waking up on Monday morning with my throat killing”
“It’s not good for players to be going into games hearing loads of negatives but the last couple of weeks it’s been difficult to find any positives”
“You want to lift the players and give them belief but it’s not easy blowing smoke up them when they’ve not been doing their jobs”
For anyone who reads this column regularly you will be aware that the rookies on the team have been given a plant each to look after for the duration of the season, so ladies, this shot of Harrison Lillis in the shower with his little seedling ‘Tel’ is for you.
Cardiff Devils NL included former Streatham star Rupe Quiney in their line up for the trip to the Isle of Wight.
Sadly for the Welsh side it just wasn’t enough to stop them going down 6-4 to the Wightlink Raiders whose Coach Jeremy Cornish must have wondering if his week could get any better.
One person who certainly wasn’t smiling after the game was poor Devils forward Louis Lockwood who ended up leaving the rink in an ambulance and on oxygen after dislocating his shoulder.
Long-time readers of this column will know that Lockwood survived a stabbing in London in his teen years so have no doubt that the former Streatham player will make a full recovery from this injury.
Goal scorers for Wightlink were the on form Jiri Hanzal with a hat trick and Robbie Brown, Steve Gosset and former Devil Corey Watkins with one goal each.
Cardiff scorers were David Sadler, Jordan Powell, Sean Scarborough and Steve Osman.
Gosset later received a match for fighting and Jordan Powell also took an early shower for a high sticks call.
Cardiff had a long wait after the game waiting for Lockwood to be discharged from hospital but given some of the characters in their team the time probably passed quite quickly in a local hostelry.
On their last visit to Solent & Gosport, the Romford Raiders only narrowly avoided a shock loss however despite a nervy start this time round, the league champions won in far more convincing fashion.
The 10-4 score line came courtesy of four goals by Juraj Huska, a brace each for David Oliver and AJ Smith and one each for Grant Taylor and Matt Turner. For Solent & Gosport Kent Johnson got two goals with George Norcliffe and Mitchell Murray getting the others.
Devils utility player Kev Tanner took an early shower after getting a game misconduct with less than two minutes gone and at the end of the game Raiders defenseman Julian Smith also received the same punishment.
Streatham travelled to Slough in a Southern Cup game with a late 7.30 face off. In a one sided game the Redskins won comfortably with a 15-4 score line.
Goals for Streatham came courtesy of hat tricks from Russ Stevens (who was wearing my lucky pants), Evander Grinnell and Jakub Klima. Former Slough captain Jamie McIlroy got a brace and there were single goals for Liam Rasmussen, Eddie Temple, Chris Rasmussen and Joe Johnston.
For Slough Stas Prokofiev scored two with Jamie Milton and Zoran Kozic getting the other. The game ended on a sour note as an unlucky Slough player landed awkwardly when tripped and had to be stretchered off the ice and later put on oxygen.
Aside from the win, the most pleasing point personally was to see referee Kieron O’Halloran back in the stripes at this level. Apparently he has been officiating in the Elite League of late but he is a top ref and would be a welcome fixture in the NIHL on a regular basis I am sure (although he probably would prefer otherwise).
Invicta’s little streak continued as they upset bitter rivals Romford Raiders 6-4 in front of a jubilant Silverblades crowd.
A brace each for Callum Fowler and Peter Vaisanen, along with a goal each from Callum Best and Justin Noble were enough for Invicta to take the points.
For Romford it was Juraj Huska, Matt Turner, AJ Smith and Danny Marshall who got the goals.
Whilst Kevin Parrish and the Mo’s fans would prefer their last two wins over Chelmsford and Romford to have been in the league rather than the trophy/cup competition, it certainly gives them confidence going forward.
Milton Keynes Thunder gave Chelmsford an almighty scare a few weeks ago but at the Riverside the Chieftains despatched their visitors 5-2.
Dwayne Newman scored past his old club on his return with Matty Roberts getting the other MK goal.
Julius Sinkovic hit a hat trick for Chelmsford with Michael Ranby and Tom Castle getting the other goals.
MK’s Connor Goode took a nasty elbow to the face and ended up leaving a lot of blood on the ice before being patched up by Thunder physio Nefra Germain.
Wightlink Raiders made it a four point weekend with a comeback win against the Bracknell Hornets. Losing 1-0 at one pointy to a Matt Jordan goal, the Raiders levelled through Jeremy Cornish and then got a late winner through Richard Facey.
The weekend games leave Wightlink Raiders at the top of the table just ahead of Chelmsford with Solent & Gosport still searching for their first points of the season.
Saturday 27th October 2012
Wightlink Raiders 6-4 Cardiff Devils NL
Solent & Gosport Devils 4-10 Romford Raiders
Sunday 28th October 2012
Slough Jets NL 4-15 Streatham Redskins (Southern Cup)
Invicta Dynamos 6-4 Romford Raiders (Southern Cup)
Chelmsford Chieftains 5-2 MK Thunder
Bracknell Hornets 1-2 Wightlink Raiders
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