Streatham Storm came from behind to grab their first English Women’s Elite league victory on Saturday with a tenacious 2-1 win at home over Kingston Diamonds.
The winning goal came on the power play with nine minutes remaining when new club treasurer Melissa Reidelberger cashed in on a pass in front from Storm’s player-of-the-game Sarah Barton to fire the puck into the net.
A tense battle ensued as the Humbersiders fought to get back on terms against the newly-promoted home side, but Storm held out to celebrate their first Elite league points with a noisy band of supporters.
“It was pretty tense out there,” said Reidelberger. “Everyone really put in a big effort to get the result and I was just happy to be able to score the winner.”
After going down by the odd goal in seven in their opening game at Guildford, Storm were keen to get a result against Kingston to show their mettle in the top flight. As in their first match, they came out strongly, going toe-to-toe with their experienced opponents.
But it was Kingston that took the lead in the 10th minute with a neatly-worked goal scored by skipper Bethany Scoon.
The second period turned into a battle of the goalies as the visitors, with an away win against Sheffield already under their belt, went after a second goal and Storm pushed to get back on terms. After being outshot in the first, Streatham had more chances in the second but could not find a way past Holly Steeples, while Ruth Cattell, in net for Storm, also kept the shutters down.
Storm faced a big test of character going into the final period to show they could win points in the big league. They didn’t disappoint as they toughed out a sometimes physical game, trading penalties with Kingston. The turning point came five minutes after the restart when Barton, making her debut for Storm, scored the equaliser following some sustained pressure on the net from Storm.
“We’re really pleased to get the points and show we are in this league to compete,” said skipper Joanna Li How Cheong. “There was a real buzz in the changing room after the game.”
Sam Nicoll, head coach, was pleased by a strong all-round performance in which both teams put 37 shots on net. Li How Cheong moved back into defence for the game alongside Jamie Endrizzi, Isabell Whiteley and Meghan Sullivan, with the group consistently managing to keep traffic away from the net, allowing mostly long range shots for Cattell to deal with.
Up front, there was a bright debut for young French newcomer Margaux Cesar, with Fiona King, Tiffany Trood, Chelsea Meaney and Jennifer Lawrence among those offering a threat on goal.
“We can build on this performance,” said Nicoll. “Everyone contributed strongly, our penalty kill was good and it was great to score on the power play. We’re looking forward to the next game.”
Storm pay a return visit to Kingston before hosting Guildford in their next home game on Sunday November 5. There is a double header that day with Storm’s Division One team taking on Swindon Topcats at 4.30pm, followed by the Elite clash at 6.45pm. Entrance is free.