AFTER their NIHL Cup heroics against Wightlink Raiders seven days earlier, Thunder were brought back down to earth with weekend defeats at the hands of Streatham Redskins and Invicta Dynamos.
Thunder travelled to south London on Saturday for another NIHL Cup tie against Streatham, where they not only suffered with injuries, but also some awful refereeing decisions in a 6-3 defeat – two of the home team’s goals clearly offside.
With leading points scorer Connor Goode on English Premier League duty with Lightning, Thunder were going to struggle to score goals, which was also the case in Sunday’s 9-2 loss at home to Invicta.
Streatham scored the opener when Russ Stevens slotted past Mark Woolf in the Thunder goal. And Stevens then made it 2-0 when he benefited from the first of the missed offside calls to double the hosts’ advantage,
Redskins looked like they might extend their lead, with Woolf making two excellent stops from Joe Allen and Chris Rasmussen before Thunder got a goal back through Ryan Gadeke.
A spell of pressure from Thunder in the second period paid dividends as a goalmouth scramble saw the puck fall invitingly for forward Martyn Snape at the back post and he showed excellent composure before firing home.
However, two minutes later Dom Hopkins put Redskins in front again and Joe Johnston made it 4-2 before the home fans were given a reminder of Thunder’s resilience when Maksims Petruks scored with 26 seconds to go in the second period.
Finely poised at 4-3 to Streatham, the third period saw Thunders’ short bench run out of steam and Redskins’ four lines took control – Stevens and Adam Mahoney with the final goals.
A weary Thunder side then took on Invicta Dynamos in a return to league action on Sunday – Harrison Goode getting them off to a great start with the opening goal.
Justin Noble drew Dynamos level and things started to go wrong for the home side after that, with two quick goals from Callum Best and Anthony Leone turning the game on its head.
A Matt Roberts screamer from the blue line gave Thunder a chance, but lapses in concentration allowed Invicta to extend their lead to 5-2 courtesy of Peter Vaisanen and Jack Tarczyck.
Further goals from Leone, Callum Fowler (2) and Joe Bliss then rounded off the scoring and a 9-2 away win.