Ice HockeySport

Streatham secure NIHL 1 National Championship


Streatham secured their first NIHL 1 National Championship on Sunday with a 4-3 win over Billingham Stars.

Ryan Watt took just 35 seconds to open the scoring for the RedHawks against the NIHL 1 North champions, finishing off Ziggy Beasley’s pass.

Two early penalty kills put Streatham on the back foot as first Brandon Miles was called for interference and then Preston Tombs was ruled to have hooked a Stars player.

Streatham went 2-0 up after 10 minutes. Tomasz Skokan produced a perfect shot from the blue line off a face-off, right into the top corner of Thomas Brown’s net.

Streatham were back on the penalty kill at the start of the second period with Callum Burnett handed a two-minute tripping penalty as he battled for the puck.

The South Londoners safely saw out that period before a Star’s penalty – Chris Sykes sent to the box for hooking – handed them a chance to extend their lead.

Streatham converted this powerplay into a goal. James Warman passed across the front of goal for a waiting Jared Lane to fire into the open net with Brown out of position.

Billingham immediately answered back, finally breaking the seal on Danny Milton’s net, as James Moss scored unassisted.

Streatham restored their three-goal lead at 35:43. JJ Pitchley was hooked on a breakaway chance, leading to a penalty shot that he converted to make the score 4-1.

A minute later Billingham’s Rolands Gritans found James Moss to convert and they added another 44 seconds later. Moss and Gritans provided the set-up with chances that rebounded clear before a waiting Sykes shovelled the puck past a sprawled Milton.

The stage was set for drama in the third. Streatham were put on the backfoot 32 seconds in as Callum Burnett was called twice for slashing while attempting to stop a Stars player in on net.

The stage was set for more drama in the closing 10 minutes. Josh Martin delivered a hit to the head on a Stars player in a puck battle. The penalty was a five-minute major, meaning that period would stay five-versus-four no matter how many times Stars scored. Martin was ejected from the game.

Streatham killed that penalty and also when James Warman was handed a hooking penalty – Billingham pulled their goalie for an extra skater.

Player-coach Ben Paynter said: “We dominated at the start.

“We lost our way in the second a little bit, but in the third we did what we do best and killed penalties.

“That third period was backs-against-the-wall time, but we got it done. “We’d studied their powerplay, we knew how it worked and we killed every penalty. The boys did what they needed to do.

“A lot of people are saying other teams are coming for us. We love that teams are strengthening but we are a winning club, and we want to keep winning. We’ve had a great year, but we didn’t win that grand slam. I want that grand slam”

The next engagement the club has will be their end of season awards at Dulwich Hamlet’s Champion Hill stadium on Saturday at 6pm.


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