10:11am Tuesday 21st February 2012
Casimir Madren-Britton has urged Streatham Redskins to keep on fighting as time runs out on their battle to avoid relegation, writes David Carr.
Sunday's 8-1 loss at Chelmsford Chieftains, second in English National Ice Hockey One South, kept Redskins at the bottom of the table, two points behind Slough Jets - who they still have to play twice - and eight behind Milton Keynes Thunder with only nine games to go.
But despite the odds being stacked against them, alternate captain Madren-Britton still believes the club can escape.
"We need to stick together over the rest of the fixtures as we are capable of beating the drop", he said ahead of this Sunday's game with Wightlink Raiders at Brixton Ice Arena.
"We know we can do it, we just need a bit of luck and to come up big in a couple of games.
"We always knew Chelmsford would be a tough place to come.
"Anything we can get against the top sides is a bonus and we were well beaten on Sunday.
"Chelmsford punished us on the powerplay so we need to cut down on the penalties and start taking the game to teams."
Streatham faced another tough fixture as they travelled to second placed Chelmsford Chieftains on Sunday evening.
Streatham gave Czech defenceman Lukas Zilak a start alongside Slovak Jerry Pavlus, whilst Stefan Nubert replaced Will Sanderson between the pipes.
Streatham started slowly and the Chieftains took hold of the game early on. With seven minutes gone, Ross Brears released Danny Hammond down the left wing and he skated hard past the Redskins defence down the boards before cutting inside and firing past the exposed Nubert.
Straight from face off Michael Ranby cut the puck back to Alan Green and he skated unopposed down the same wing before cutting across, before showing composure to beat Nubert who eventually committed to the shot.
Chelmsford made it three goals in as many minutes straight after as a Jakub Klima shot was deflected to Darren Brown, whose snapshot flew past the unsighted Nubert into the right hand corner of the net.
At 3-0 down Streatham needed to pull themselves together and Stevie Balmer had an opportunity to score only to see his effort fly past Ben Clements in the Chelmsford goal but clear the crossbar. Jerry Pavlus then skated from his own end before cutting in at the top of the circle but his quick shot was straight at Clements.
Streatham then had a stroke of misfortune as Luke Reynolds and Danny Hammond tangled on the boards however the stray stick of the Streatham defenceman clocked Hammond on the cheek and drew blood, thus forcing the referee to eject the former Slough and Wightlink blue liner for high sticks.
Streatham did reasonably well killing the subsequent five minute power play, but Chelmsford did manage a fourth goal with a controversial effort with two and a half minutes to go in the period. A suspiciously offside looking Tom Long picked up the puck on the right wing before stepping inside and firing his bullet of a slapshot into the top of the Streatham goal from an acute angle.
The rest of the period saw Nubert making some key saves from Klima and Darren Elliott to stop the rot till the buzzer.
After a miserable first period Streatham came out in the second looking more organised and playing with more purpose. Chelmsford started to look a little scrappy but Streatham hit the familiar penalty trouble and the threat then faded away.
Chelmsford got a crucial fifth goal on the powerplay as the hard-working Hammond finished a good move between Alex Green and Darren Brown.
With Chelmsford leading 5-0 going into the third, the chances of a Redskins win was slim but to their credit the Londoners kept skating and continued to push the home side.
Two consecutive penalties proved to be the Skins undoing as Chelmsford then scored two goals in as many minutes. Alex Green scored Chelmsford’s sixth and then former Redskin Michael Ranby skated in and slid the puck through Nubert’s pads to make it seven.
Ross Brears could be forgiven for thinking that his neat finish from a Ranby pass would conclude matters but it was Streatham who had the last goal as Norm Pinnington bust to the net to convert an incisive pass from Chris Fox to deny Clements a shutout.
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