Streatham’s season ended in defeat as the RedHawks exited the NIHL South 1 play-offs in the first round thanks to a 10-4 aggregate loss to Basingstoke Bison last weekend.
The sixth-seeded South Londoners were the underdogs going into the two-legged encounter – their opponents finishing the regulation campaign in third and 22 points ahead – and knew that the first game on home ice would be crucial to their hopes.
Despite a strong start and a brace from Canadian Alex Roberts, the RedHawks faded and lost 5-2 in front of a rowdy crowd at the Streatham Arena.
The three-goal deficit was always going to be a challenge in the return game in Hampshire but goals from Tom Soar and Rupe Quiney had the travelling fans wondering if an upset was on the cards.
The Bison had other ideas and closed the game out with a double from Richard Bordowski and lone goals from Michel Klejna, Danny Ingoldsby and George Norcliffe.
“We’d lost five out of our six games against the Bison in the regular season so we knew it was a tough ask,” admitted head coach Jeremy Cornish.
“On Saturday we weren’t at our best and we really needed everything to align to give us a chance at progressing. I can’t fault the effort of the players though. They’ve given everything this year and it has been a tough ask playing against clubs with more depth and resources.”
The game was the last behind the bench for Cornish who now steps down to spend more time with his family on the South Coast.
The RedHawks have a break until September when the new season starts under the tenure of newly-appointed player-coach Adam Carr.
“I am really excited and grateful for the opportunity to coach such a great club”, said Carr, who captained Streatham this year.
“It’s a new challenge for me and one I’m really looking forward to. I’d like to thank Corny for putting my name forward for the job and to Graham for giving me the opportunity.
“Next year will be my 18th senior year so hopefully I can pass on some of my experience and knowledge passed on to me from my coaches and team mates over the years.
“I believe I know what it takes to win and what sort of player and personalities the team needs to win so I’m looking forward to building a team that can do that.”
Streatham fans now face an interesting summer of squad news with some players due to move on and new faces likely to be added.
PICTURES BY RICK WEBB