Will Sanderson looks to the future with his head held high after Streatham Redskins’ play-off disappointment

Will Sanderson is already looking forward to the next season with Streatham Redskins despite suffering a heartbreaking early exit from the NIHL S1 play-offs.

Redskins’ final quest for success this season came to an abrupt end in the quarter-finals when they were surprisingly brushed aside by Milton Keynes Thunder 9-4 on aggregate.

The two sides drew 2-2 in the opening game of the tie in Streatham before Thunder hammered their opponents 7-2 in the return leg.

Sanderson admits his side were gutted after the defeat but the goaltender sees light at the end of the tunnel for the club.

“I definitely see progress. The fact that we are disappointed with our season shows we have progressed as a club,” he said.

“We never finished in the top four in the last eight years or so and to come third in the league and still be upset is progress, which shows we are good enough.

“If we get the little things together and gather consistency, I think next season could be a completely different story.”

Redskins started strongly in the first leg against Thunder when they went 2-0 up in the second period with a double from Calum Best.

According to Sanderson complacency overcame his side yet again and this allowed Thunder to score two quick goals before the end of the period.

Despite the confidence in the Streatham dressing room before the return leg, they struggled to create clear-cut chances and let frustration get the better of them away from home.

Thunder scored three goals in the first period before scoring two more in each of the following periods as Redskins could not find a way back.

“It’s just a shame, we’ve come such a long way this season,” said Sanderson.

“I think the most disappointing thing is to get knocked out of the first round of the play-offs when we were the favourites and should have done well.

“We played some really good hockey and we fought hard for a good position.

“We could have come second in the league and I really felt like we could have won the play-offs but we all feel like we put that pressure on ourselves and we weren’t able to put it down on the ice.”

Sanderson feels inconsistency against teams ranked below them played a huge part in his side’s failures to win silverware this season.

Redskins dropped several points against lower ranked sides in the regular season, which left them in third in the league.

However, the 27-year-old says this season has taught his side lot of lessons and he feels they are better prepared to challenge for silverware in the next campaign.

“It’s been an exciting season and knowing that we can beat every team is quite an achievement this year.

“We have won at every ice rink and which shows improvement. We had beat Wightlink at the Isle of Wight twice having not won at their rink for 20-odd years and we beat Chelmsford twice at their place.

“So you can’t pick too many negatives from this season as we still came third. The fact that we haven’t walked away with a bit of silverware is the most painful thing.

“But if we can keep the core of our team together and add a bit of depth I think we will be unstoppable next season.”

Feature image of Will Sanderson, courtesy of Rick Webb, with thanks

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