Head coach Jeremy Cornish couldn’t hide his disappointment as Streatham Ice Hockey’s play-off final hopes were dashed after losing to Invicta Dynamos 10-1.
After a well-fought 3-3 draw in Saturday’s home first leg the south Londoner’s trip to Kent, on Sunday, was far from a happy affair.
After a scoreless first period, Gillingham’s Invicta Dynamos reached top gear as they thumped in six goals by the end of the second, with Streatham replying just once.
As the game slipped away from Streatham, Dynamos added another four goals to round off a convincing win that also saw Streatham club legends Joe Johnston and Liam Rasmussen retire.
“I thought we played them pretty tight on Saturday and in the first period, but it definitely did unravel pretty quickly in the second period,” said Cornish.
“The players were furious with it as well so it’s disappointing.
“It is always disappointing to concede three goals so quickly, especially in these types of games.
“I called a timeout just to tell them to calm down, reset and just start with one goal. It just wasn’t meant to be tonight.”
After a well-matched first period, Streatham felt the full force of the Dynamos offence as Adam Rehak, Ondrej Zosiak and Scott Bailey all fired past goaltender Matthew Colclough within the first six minutes of the second period.
Eager to steady the ship Cornish called a timeout before Streatham pulled a goal back through Jack Tarczycki in a five-on-three power play.
Any hope of a comeback was soon extinguished as goals from Rehak, Callum Fowler and Ashley Jackson gave the Mo’s a comfortable lead going into the final intermission.
The Gillingham boys then finished the job with another four goals, as Fowler added two to seal his hat-trick, Jackson grabbed his second and Rehak also completed a hat-trick of his own.
“There’s a disappointment that we didn’t build on our goal. This team has struggled with scoring all year so when we got down a couple of goals you can see the writing on the wall,” said Cornish.
“You just try to encourage the guys to keep pressing and hopefully the positive things would happen.”
Despite the result on the night, Cornish was still keen to emphasize how proud he was of Streatham’s accomplishments this season.
“There’s definitely a sense of pride. We finished third, one point out of second, and when we took the team over in October we didn’t have the greatest start,” he said.
“I think the turnaround was a success but I always set my sights on playing in the play-off final and we didn’t get that so I’m pretty disappointed.
“Next season you always want to set your sights on the league, the cup, and the play-offs.
“That’s always the goal and moving forward that’s going to be Streatham’s goal every single year.
“There’ll be changes made and we’ll be looking to improve the squad.”
The defeat spelled the end of the careers of Rasmussen and captain Johnston as they left the ice for the final time before retirement.
In a classy move, both Streatham and the Dynamos formed a guard of honour for the pair as they headed off before hanging up their skates.
Cornish paid tribute to them both with a special mention for his captain – dubbed Mr Streatham Hockey.
“Joe Johnston is the team,” Cornish added.
“He is Streatham Ice Hockey Club – a born and bred Streatham boy – and he wears his heart on his sleeve.
“He’s a fantastic captain and he’ll be greatly missed.”