A DEPLETED MK Thunder team made their first visit to Streatham Redskins’ new temporary home in Brixton on Sunday where they suffered an 8-5 defeat.
With eight players unavailable through injury, it was going to require a massive effort from the players to come away with anything from the National League Division One South game, and although Thunder did lose, there were some positives to take.
Streatham came out hard in the opening stages, putting pressure on the Thunder defence from the first face-off. Five minutes in Joe Johnston set up Russ Stevens in the slot and his wrist shot looped into the top corner of goalie Jordan Hedley’s net.
Redskins then hit penalty trouble and Thunder’s well-worked powerplay unit took full advantage as Harrison Goode fired past Stefan Nubert from close range after good work from Jamie Randall behind the net.
The game began to become more scrappy with both sides defending sloppily at times, and it looked like the period would end all square until Streatham’s Dave Carr skated round the back of the net before squeezing the puck between Hedley and the near post from a tight angle.
Streatham started the second period as they had the first, with Dom Hopkins rattling the post and then Jakub Klima hitting both posts. But the home side were finally rewarded for their persistence on the powerplay as a pass from Adam Mahoney on the point was fired into the net by Johnston.
Thunder hit back less than a minute later when winger Mike Whillock skated hard down the right wing and then fired a perfect snap shot into the top corner of Nubert’s net from distance.
This prompted Thunder’s best spell of the game as they began to cause all sorts of problems for Redskins’ defence. Nidal Phillips and Connor Goode both had good chances to score but couldn’t beat Nubert. However, Thunder finally got the equaliser midway through the second period, and it was another powerplay goal, this time thanks to Randall who appeared unmarked in the slot before firing low into the net.
At 3-3 it looked like Thunder were going to get on top and control the game, but again defensive errors allowed Redskins easy goals, as first Stevens converted at the back post and then Steve Balmer finished past Hedley to make it 5-3 before the second break.
The third period was set up nicely for an exciting finish, and so it proved. With 10 minutes to go, Klima scored a shorthanded goal as he skated the full length of the ice past three Thunder players before beating Hedley to make it 6-3.
The visitors hit back straight away as Randall again proved his importance to the team when he scored from close range from a Harrison Goode pass.
Streatham restored their three-goal lead two minutes later when Johnston roofed the puck into the top of the net. And it was 8-4 just a minute later as Klima set up Hopkins in the slot and his fierce slap gave Hedley no chance.
Back came Thunder again, and a three-player collision – one of which was Redskins netminder Nubert – left Randall to pick up the loose puck and lift it over the bodies into the net.
The game ended 8-5 to Redskins, but Thunder had their chances to take both points on the night, and they will be looking to do better this coming weekend when they travel to Bracknell on Saturday before hosting league leaders Wightlnk Raiders on Sunday at 6.30pm.