BY CHRISTOPHER BEAL
Streatham started February in winning style in front of a big home crowd on Sunday night as they skated away with a 6-1 win over the Chelmsford Chieftains.
Fans in attendance could be forgiven for being a little starstruck as former Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech made his first appearance in net for the Chieftains on the High Road.
While fans in the stands may have been over-awed, the Streatham offence certainly was not. It took less than two minutes for Jared Lane to find Scott Bailey, who skated down the wing and cut across before firing the puck high into Cech’s net.
The RedHawks had to wait until the 16th minute for their next as Cech weathered the Streatham barrage of attempts before Danny Ingoldsby and Vanya Antonov found space for a two on one. A trailing Tomasz Skokan collected the puck after the pair failed to complete the play and scored with a one-time shot.
Streatham got into penalty trouble at the start of the next period and a series of power plays for the Chieftains saw Grant and Cameron Bartlett test Tom Annett from the half boards and the point. But Streatham flipped the script, scoring while short-handed with only three players on the ice. Ben Paynter strip Cameron Bartlett at the blue line for a breakaway attempt that he buried past Cech to make it 3-0.
Chieftains immediately responded on that same power play and broke the shut out at the 37-minute mark. The Bartlett brothers combined to find a waiting Ethan Reid, who applied the finish to put the Chieftains on the board 3-1.
Streatham made it 4-1 three minutes into the third period. Ziggy Beesley and Vanya Antonov dod the hard work low behind the goal before finding a waiting Ingoldsby just off the centre slot, he fired it high past Cech.
Paynter added his second of the night at the 50-minute mark. Maks Maslak won the puck behind the net and got a pass off to Bailey, he found a waiting Paynter whose shot found the net.
Ignotas Ragas had been frustrated all evening by Cech’s shotstopping but at 56 minutes he cracked the shield as he applied the finish to a series of passes between himself and line mates Lane and Ryan Watt to make the final score 6-1.
Coach Paynter said: “It was the first time in a while we’ve played a complete team game, everyone doing the little things right. Bits that aren’t flashy like blocking shots and sticking to the systems, everyone bought in.
“We know what firepower Chelmsford have got. We isolated their main guys, everyone put their body on the line, D doing their job, no-one was selfish and we had great back check pressure from the forwards.”
Goalscorer Ragas said: “It was a relatively easy game. We scored a bunch of goals which was amazing. It was a good game, pretty physical lots of shots and a good game I would say. ”
Fellow goalscorer Danny Ingoldsby added: “It was a good game, a bit of an experience to play against Petr Cech. Everyone skated hard it was a good battle as they have good players.
“Scoring one past Cech felt good, probably not as good as how the footballers feel, but it feels good to get a goal when the crowd is big, like it is right now.”
The RedHawks are now back on the road for the next two weekends as they travel to Romford on February 11, facing off at 5.15pm before the following weekend travelling to Slough on Feburary 18 facing of at 6.30pm.
Streatham return home for a tough test against the Invicta Dynamos on February 25 at 6.45pm.
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