Haringey Huskies 5, Streatham Black Hawks 1

26th November 2022

By Tom Pink

Glorious. Utterly glorious.

This is what we’re all in it for. It’s nights like these that keep us all coming back. A performance of real intent, and a warning to the rest of the league that these Huskies are going absolutely nowhere. These Huskies are only just getting started.

Haringey iced new youngster Corey Taylor, who has been signed on a 2-way deal from Milton Keynes Storm U18s. The sixteen-year-old wore the number 42 jersey and had a few opportunities towards the end of the third period to show us what he’s all about. Well done Corey on a solid debut.

The Huskies also donned a special jersey to mark White Ribbon Day 2022, to raise awareness about, and bring an end to domestic violence against women and girls. In General Manager Lee Mercer’s open letter, he spoke directly to the fans about the club’s support for the cause. A fantastic gesture and initiative, and one which I’m sure everyone can wholeheartedly get behind.

It would have been easy for Haringey to roll over here. There were plenty of opportunities for us to make this game much more difficult for ourselves. Lots of flashpoints, lots of potential hurdles. The first 5 minutes were worrying. Streatham started fast with a lot of aggression, and after going 1-0 down early I did have a few jitters. But this was a much more disciplined display from Haringey than the 3-1 defeat at Streatham in October. A lot of cool heads.

Matt France was doing good work early-on marshalling our defensive zone, but we found it difficult to get possession of the puck and the Black Hawks had us penned-in for large parts. As you might have expected for a London derby, it was a very physical game with some big early hits. After 7 minutes Streatham move the puck to the point, and a wicked shot bounces off Luke Clark’s chest and into the path of forward Daniel Clayton for the easiest of tap-ins.

In all honesty, there ended any idea of a Streatham win. Not because they don’t continue to apply themselves. Not because they don’t keep Luke Clark busy for periods of the game. But as soon as they score, Haringey decide to impose themselves and never look back.

Ninety seconds after conceding, Bradley Taylor finds Luke Martin at the blue line, reprising his role as a D-man, who whips a slapshot through a crowd of bodies and into the back of the Streatham net. A really nicely worked goal and Haringey continued to shoot on sight from range, targeting the Black Hawks netminder.

A minute later, Ryan Gadeke has a look gloved before Marton Szasz, sweeping across the offensive zone from right to left, carrying the puck backhanded, finishes his shot top right for 2-1 and an instant Haringey turnaround. Absolutely brilliant; Marton seems to get better and better each week.

It’s all Huskies, and a mistake in the Streatham defence leads to a 1-on-1 opportunity for Stuart Appleby that is blocked and saved. Ryan Gadeke has another shot from centre ice that just fizzes wide. At the other end, ex-Husky Sam Jackson’s heavy touch means his breakaway breaks down. Luke Martin works hard in clearing up and Haringey finish the period strongly.

It was more of the same in the second, and Haringey turn the screw. They crank it another couple of notches. Where previously they may have let teams back in, they made no mistake here. Tom Avery has a shot which Stephen Woodford follows-up on; Ryan McFarlane cuts back to Matt Hepburn who can’t convert; Seb Downing’s shot is padded away. More pressure.

From a face-off, the puck comes back to Stephen from Matt France who rifles it first-time into the net to extend Haringey’s lead to 3-1 after 5 minutes in the second. Just when Streatham think they might have a chance to get back into it, Haringey take the game further and further away from them.

There’s a goalmouth bundle in the Haringey crease and then a coming together between several players, including Streatham’s Solomon Smith who seems to instigate a fight, goes to the sin bin, and then winds-up on the Streatham bench.

Haringey then should have really added a couple more goals to their tally. Matt Hepburn is pulled back from a goal-scoring opportunity, but can’t convert the penalty shot that is awarded, colliding with the Streatham netminder and leaving the puck behind. Right at the end of the period, the Huskies have 4 or 5 attempts in quick succession but can’t get any over the line.

There’s also a big, big penalty kill by the Huskies, even having to endure some 5-on-3 hockey. Luke Clark makes a big pad save from an absolute rocket from Solomon Smith from the point. Mac is such a cool head in our defensive line and does so well to restore and retain possession on several occasions.

Another strong finish to the period for Haringey, and in the third Streatham came out desperately seeking a goal. Stephen and Tom have shots saved, and it’s Mac again making a block at the crease. Luke Clark makes plenty of saves as Streatham keep knocking on the door. But Haringey have a goal disallowed and it starts to feel like Streatham are hanging on.

Corey comes on and has a shot gloved after a slick passing move. He also shows his physicality with a big hit on one of the Streatham players. Stephen works the puck to Marton who fires a one-timer from the right which is saved.

Similar to last week, there was plenty of determination on show from Haringey. With 3 minutes left James Hepburn works hard to win the puck back in centre ice; Ryan Gadeke slides to reach the puck and knock it away into the Streatham defensive zone. Some serious shifts are being put in.

With a minute and a half to go, Streatham roll the dice and pull their keeper. It’s risk-reward, and this time the risk is too big. The puck pops out and Bradley hits it straight down ice and into the empty net. All over.

Or so I thought. Thirty seconds from the end, Matt Hepburn is played through by James and this time makes no mistake, slotting the puck into the bottom left corner. I was made-up for him that he was able to make amends for his earlier penalty miss. He thoroughly deserved the goal. Joe Willingham is awarded player of the match but it could honestly have been any one of them, such was the quality and desire on show.

Huskies are quietly picking up points and momentum, with 4 wins since their OT loss to Bristol. It’s three games on the road now against Oxford, Chelmsford, and Cardiff before heading back to the Palace on the 17th for the reverse against Chelmsford. We’re hurtling towards the business end of the season.

It’s 12 games left. It’s a big, big run-in. It’s 23 lads in black, grey, and white who don’t know how to quit; don’t know how to stop chasing. Let’s come through this period with as many points as possible and charge into those last games, absolutely run into them.

Let’s go Huskies.

Photo by Phil Hutchinson

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