Streatham Redskins 5 Wightlink Raiders 0
Will Sanderson’s shutout in goal ensured Streatham Redskins extended their unbeaten run on the ice to eight games with an empathic win against Wightlink Raiders.
Goals from Joe Johnston and Stephen Fisher handed Streatham an early lead before Kamil Kinkor struck twice either side of a Chris Wiggins effort to put the result beyond doubt.
But it was Sanderson’s man of the match performance between the posts which stole the show as his imperious efforts to continuously deprive the visitors of a goal resulted in a well-deserved clean sheet.
Sanderson said: “Coming into 2016 we had a bit of a rough December but to stay unbeaten so far it feels really good and to get a shutout it feels even better.
“It was my first one in a while but defensively as team we are just on top of it right now.
“We’re not giving away too many opportunities, we’re really tracking back and looking after ourselves.
“It helps me to feel more confident, especially when I make a save and we go up the other end and score – that makes me feel even better.”
Despite the one-sided score line, Wightlink were by no means passive bystanders as their record going into the game of only one loss in last their last nine matches would suggest.
In the opening five minutes the Raiders’ attacking threat was evident for all to see, and they would have taken the lead were it not for the outstretched left leg of Sanderson and the left post coming into play.
But after withstanding an opening flurry of attacks Streatham gained composure to break the deadlock in the ninth minute when Johnston slotted the puck through the legs of goalkeeper Matthew Colclough.
Minutes later the lead was doubled. Joe Allen speeding through from the left fed a reverse pass across the goal-mouth into the path of Fisher who completed proceedings.
From this point onwards Streatham demonstrated time and time again what an effective penalty killing unit they have become, partly due to the arrival of defenseman David Savage from English Premiership side Bracknell Bees.
“We’ve done a few drills that are really working on it and defensively bringing in one more defender has really, really helped to make us more solid, especially someone of his [Savage] class,” added Sanderson.
Having missed several chances to extend their lead through Jack Tarczycki and Johnston the game always remained in the balance. With only a two goal advantage to fall back on as Sanderson was repeatedly called into action blocking everything that came his way.
But on 49 minutes, played in by none other than Sanderson, Kinkor danced past three Raiders defenders before rounding Colclough and tapping in to settle the home fans’ nerves.
With five minutes remaining Fisher was gifted a two-on-one situation but rather then attempt to double his tally for the night he unselfishly opted to play-in Wiggins for an easy tap-in.
Kinkor completed the scoring in the penultimate minute with his second of the match when he converted Callum Best’s pass from behind the Raiders’ goal.
Feature image of Joe Johnston courtesy of Rick Webb, with thanks