Streatham Storm moved joint top in the English women’s Division One ice hockey league with a hard-fought shutout victory at Oxford Midnight Stars on Saturday.
Streatham are level-pegging with league favourites Basingstoke at the halfway stage on 11 points following the 2-0 win.
Although Basingstoke have two games in hand, Streatham clocked their third win in a row and are unbeaten in five games, fuelling confidence that they can reach their goal of promotion to the Premier league, the second tier of English women’s hockey.
Their latest win came without suspended skipper Sorana Churchill. Storm were outshot 33-25 by Oxford but a stellar game between the pipes by Stephanie Wicken kept the Midnight Stars at bay for her third shutout of the season.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a brilliant backhand shot by Jehna Devraj, who lifted the puck into the roof of the net for an unassisted goal. Late in the second period, Jessica Preece doubled the lead and sealed victory after another of her characteristic barnstorming rushes, which have made her one of the most dangerous defenders in the league.
There was more frustration for Storm’s Elite squad as they went down 3-2 at home to Kingston Diamonds on the same day despite having held an early lead.
With 10 games still to play, including three against bottom club Sheffield, Storm are still confident they can stay in the top-flight after winning promotion last season.
Isabell Whiteley gave Storm Elite the lead in the third minute against Kingston as the home side set out determined to repeat the narrow win they chalked up over the visitors earlier in the season.
In an eventful second period, Kingston equalised and then took the lead in the 30th minute. Three minutes later, Storm got back on terms with a powerplay goal from Katherine Rosseau off an assist by Jennifer Lawrence. But two minutes from the end of the period Kingston netted what proved to be the decisive goal.
Storm narrowly outshot the visitors.
“It was another tough result, but we’ll keep our heads up,” said captain Joanna Li How Cheong. “We have plenty of games left to make sure we keep our place in this league.”
Both Storm teams play a home double-header on Sunday February 25, with D1 facing off at 4.30pm against Invicta. The Elite squad then take on unbeaten league leaders Bracknell at 6.50pm. Entrance is free.