Celebrations for the Chieftains as they collect their league medals with double victory weekend

Chelmsford players celebrate

Chelmsford players celebrate - Credit: Archant

Streatham Redhawks 3 Chelmsford Chieftains 6 Chelmsford Chieftains 10 Bracknell 1

Chelmsford Chieftains’ weekend celebrations got underway with a superb 6-3 victory in the Capital on Saturday evening over the Streatham Redhawks. Goals from Grant and Cameron Bartlett, Anthony Leone, Jake Sylvester, Ollie Baldock and Danny Hammond secured the win against a tough Redhawks side who are currently fighting it out with Invicta to secure the runners-up spot.

On Sunday the final home game of the league season brought bottom-placed Bracknell Hornets to Riverside in what was a practice run for the first round of the play-offs in just a few weeks time.

Hornets not having beaten Chieftains in the league since November 2010, the home fans were expecting a rout. But, since the guests at Riverside brought more travelling fans than frequent some of their home games, it seemed that the Berkshire outfit had aspirations of causing a big upset on the night the champions were officially presented with the league trophy. In the end, both sets of fans were treated to some great hockey – though most of it was from one team.

From the first face-off it was clear Chieftains would be dominant, every Hornets trip into the Chieftains zone resulting in a Chieftains counter attack.

You may also want to watch:

And the home fans didn’t have to wait long as Jake Sylvester opened the scoring at 4:13 unassisted. Young Bracknell stopper Nate Gregory, getting the start over the more experienced Danny Milton, did well to keep the home side at bay for almost 11 minutes, until Juraj Huska doubled the lead at 15:08, with assists from Sylvester and Barry. Bracknell surely thought things weren’t going that bad when the period ended with Chieftains taking a modest 2-0 lead into the break.

The second period started much more sprightly for Chieftains, Matt Turner only making the Chieftains faithful wait 2 1/2 minutes after the restart before skating into the Hornets zone, deking Gregory out of his pads and firing through the 5-hole from the hash marks.

Most Read

Less than 6 minutes later, Grant Bartlett stole the puck from a Bracknell forward and skated unchecked into the slot right in front of the young Bracknell stopper and from point blank range only had to pick a hole to aim for, choosing just above Gregory’s right shoulder taking the lead to 4-0 at 28:59.

Then, at 35:13, that big productive forward line struck again, Huska once again ending the superb build up play from Sylvester and Baldock making the score 5-0. By this point, Ben Clements in the Chieftains goal was starting to look bored as the vast majority of Hornets attacks never actually made it much further than the blue line. The period ending 5-0, this one was all over bar the shouting.

The final period started as the previous one ended, the sixth goal of the game coming at 43:47, when a Sean Barry shot from the blue line was saved by Gregory but, a split second before he could get his glove over the rebound, Jake Sylvester popped up and poked the puck from under the looming glove and into the net for his second of the night.

A little over four minutes later and Danny Hammond added a seventh, and the home fans could almost taste double figures. Bracknell applied some pressure and eventually it paid off as import Michal Oravec ended Clements’ hopes of a shut-out at 54:43. Not to be outdone, just 20 seconds later Huska bagged his 6th hat trick of the season, assisted by Baldock and Chong. And, less than a minute later, Danny Hammond skated from his own defensive zone, around the back of Gregory’s net and slipped the puck just inside the post for his second of the night.

One minute later and cue Callum Wells from the blue line to add the last goal of the game, giving the home side a spectacular 10-1 victory. Not the worst defeat Bracknell have been handed by Cheiftains in recent years, having gone down 15-0 at Riverside a year previously, credit must go to the Hornets who, in all fairness, never give up even in the face of such adversity.

And, the match over, Richard Carpenter of the EIHA presented the players, coaches and staff with their individual medals then handed team captain, Anthony Leone, with the NIHL S1 league title for the 5th year in succession, much to the overwhelming delight of the fans.

But that doesn’t mean the season is over for the newly crowned champions.

The Chieftains are away this Sunday at Streatham to face the Redhawks to complete their league fixtures. Then the action hots up once more as it’s cup final time where the Chieftains face Kent neighbours Invicta Dynamos.

The first leg is being held on Saturday, March 18 with the return over the Dartford Crossing the following day. After all that excitement we still have the end of season play-offs to look forward too, can the Chieftains complete the double…or maybe even the treble.

The bookies would make them favourites in both competitions after such a dominant league campaign, but this is the cup and play-offs, take nothing for granted.

And on the subject of the play-offs, congratulations to the Chelmsford Warriors who have secured the runners up spot and a place in the NIHL Division 2 play-offs after doing the double over Haringey Racers last weekend.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus