‘I thought this could be our time’: Streatham knocked out of play-off semi-finals by Chelmsford Chieftains

Streatham needed to be more clinical after they exited the play-off semi-finals with a 6-2 defeat to Chelmsford Chieftains in Sunday’s second leg says Joe Johnston.

Streatham came into the decisive leg equal on aggregate with Chelmsford at 4-4 following Saturday’s compelling draw to the league and cup final winners.

But despite starting the match brightly, Johnston’s team were made to pay as they weren’t able to match the clinical edge of their opponents.

He said: “Naturally I’m disappointed that the season’s finished a week early for us. I feel like we made a go of it on Sunday but we probably didn’t play as well as we could do.

“I don’t think the effort was questionable but we could have been a bit smarter with some of the decisions we made.

“The first 15 minutes we were absolutely all over them. They looked a bit nervy and I really thought this could be our time.

“Then as good champions in all sports do, even though they weren’t playing very well we ended up going in after the first period 2-0 down.

“They got two quick goals and I think it just took the stuffing out of us a little bit.

“We didn’t play badly but we just didn’t take the chances that we did on Saturday and it cost us in the end because chances are few and far between against Chelmsford, especially in their rink.

“That’s the difference, if we’d have popped a couple in it could have been a very different game but we didn’t, and like good winning teams do, they scored two goals right at the end of the first period and we’re coming in 2-0 down when it easily could have been 3-0 or 3-1 to us.”

The defeat marks the end of Streatham’s season and the end of their time on the ice as the Streatham Redskins after it was announced earlier this month that the Redskins moniker would be dropped from next season onwards.

Looking back on the season as a whole, Johnston feels that while progress has been made, a lack of consistency prevented the team from achieving results that are well within their capabilities.

He added: “There has been some really good moments mixed in with some really bad moments but I feel like the thing that’s killed us is our inconsistency this year. That’s more something we need to work on.

“When we’re on our game we can match teams like Chelmsford so it’s not always going to be a shoe-in that they win everything because we can compete with them.

“On the very rare occasions where we’ve had everyone available we’ve generally won and beaten most teams so it’s just a consistency thing because we are one of the better teams in the league.

“I do feel like we’ve made steps in the right direction and there’s plenty to build on next year. There’s going to be a lot going on in the summer.”

Despite a strong mid-season run of form where Streatham won 10 consecutive home matches, the inconsistency that Johnston refers to saw them end the regular season in fifth position as a string of losses followed.

And having gone another season without collecting silverware, Streatham’s captain says a positive mindset going in to next season could well pay off in 12 months time.

He said: “Next year we’ve got to be going out to win it. We’re at a stage the last couple of years where we might be outsiders if you were going to have a bet, we’re on of the team’s you would probably have a sneaky bet on to maybe win it all.

“And I think if we don’t go out with that attitude then we’re maybe selling ourselves short a little bit.

“I’m not saying we’ll win everything but we’ve got to on in with the mindset of trying to win the league, trying to win the play-offs and getting the cup final again but going one better this time, we’ve been agonisingly close for a while, we’ve got to a few cup finals now and got to play-off semi–finals so we’re not far away it’s just getting over that next hurdle.”

Image courtesy of Rick Webb, with thanks

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